A servant of God to the end

Mike Khakhane

Mike Khakhane

Residents of Molapo in Soweto are mourning the death of Mary Tankiso Chalatse, 90, a teacher who touched many lives. She died last Friday after a long illness.

Mme MaChalatse, as she was affectionately known, taught the likes of the late Percy Qoboza, Reverend Paul Ngwenya and Mango Piliso.

Born on December 25 1918 in QwaQwa, Free State, she chose teaching as a profession. She started teaching in Klerksdorp, North West, before relocating to Johannesburg.

As a staunch Catholic, she was among the founder-members of St Matthew's Roman Catholic School in Moroka, Soweto, in 1949. She taught at the school until her retirement in 1985.

With a great passion for community work, she and members of her community founded the Assumption Mission Catholic Church in Molapo. In 1951 she joined the church's St Anne's Sodality Group.

Soon she was elected vice-president of the diocese of Johannesburg. A dedicated person, sheserved the church until her last day.To the community of Molapo, she was more than a mother and a role model. Humble but a strict disciplinarian, she loved to use words wisely and was always full of jokes, earning herself the nickname "MaGreeza".

Chalatse is survived by three sons, two daughters, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She will be buried tomorrow at Avalon Cemetery.

The service, at the Assumption Mission Catholic Church in Molapo, starts at 7.30am.