Oration for Pontsha

Moss Molebatsi

I have been a friend, brother and comrade to Andrew Pontsha Mamarigane for 28 years.

Though it is difficult to write about him, I will try to write what I know.

We met while students at George Khoza Secondary School, in Dobsonville, Soweto. We were in the same class from form one to form four.

Our friendship was respected by our families.

He engaged anyone on any subject, regardless of that person's academic status.

We shared a lot of things, and most of all we loved and respected each other.

We were exposed to Black Consciousness under the banner of Azapo at school. This influenced our career choices after we completed our studies.

Black Consciousness sharpened our political understanding, deepened our analytical skills and developed our critical thinking.

That is why Pontsha and I, together with my cousin, George Molebatsi, Thomas Modikwe and others were expelled from school - because of our political activism.

Pontsha loved reading Shakespeare, particularly Julius Caesar.

I remember him loudly reading the speech Mark Antony made at Caesar's funeral.

He would pause and laugh as he marvelled at the profundity of the words Mark Antony used.

He acted in dramas such as a Matlhotlhapelo, Nyoni and Julius Caesar.

Pontsha taught me a lot of things.

He taught me that the best of friends are those who hold diverse views, and that, though friends, we did not have to agree on everything.

He was a somewhat complicated person and in some respects difficult to understand because, though we agreed on something, he would say we should look for points of disagreement.

Pontsha will be buried at Avalon Cemetery tomorrow. The service will be held at Kopanong Community Centre, Dobsonville, from 8am.