Brilliant life cut short

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

I had not yet met the late Matse Bernadette Keshupilwe, the deputy director-general in the Department of Arts and Culture. She had just been appointed last year into this powerful position whenhen she died on December 30.

Those close to her - from former university mates to colleagues in government - say she was as educated as she was glamorous, and had a good dress sense.

For example, when she was a Masters student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the US in 2001 as a Nelson Mandela Economics Fellow, her brains and her dress sense were highly rated by fellow students.

Her dress taste had prompted a gossip blogger on the university's website to ask: "How did you get that outfit. Is it a personal gift from Mbeki himself?"

She was rising fast in the civil service and was destined for bigger things.

She had a 10-year-long illustrious career in the civil service, culminating in her recent appointment.

She also worked as head of international relations at the Department of Transport.

Prior to that, she had worked at the Department of Communications and at the SABC. She died shortly after being hospitalised at MedForum Clinic in Pretoria.

A memorial service will be held today from 10am to noon at African Window Museum in Pretoria.

Keshupilwe was born in Botswana on September 13 1963. She will be cremated tomorrow after a service at the Pretoria City Hall from 6.30am.