Workaholic Mphelo

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

Retirement, by its nature, means pulling out of the

rat race to enjoy the fruits of one's labour.

This was not the case for Ernest Reapman Mphelo, who carried on working until his death on Saturday.

Born in GaMagoro village in Limpopo in 1933, Mphelo trained at Elim Teachers College.

An avid sportsman in his youth, Mphelo played soccer and was a keen boxer. He was the founding principal of Shakobowa Higher Primary School in Zone 7, Meadowlands, Soweto, which he served for 28 years.

Mphelo retired in 1997 and opened Westonaria Open Learning Centre on the West Rand, which teaches basic computer skills. He ran the centre until his death, aged 74. Under his leadership, the school received many accolades for sport, especially cricket, its mathematics and science centre and its reading programme.

His colleagues described him as a disciplined leader who "liked things to be done his way".

Mphelo also served on the Transvaal United African Teachers Association, Soweto Teachers Choir, Star Seaside Fund, Smile Education Trust and the Read Education Trust.

Mphelo is survived by his wife, Nozuko, six children and 11 grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held at Orlando New Church in Orlando East tomorrow.

He will be buried at Westonaria Cemetery.