Long life lived to the full

Danny Magudulela

Danny Magudulela

Martha "Mamashego" Sefako died shortly after her 90th birthday.

This is a huge loss for her family and the community of Benoni, which she served with such distinction.

Many leaders in Benoni and surrounding townships such as Daveyton and Wattville, among them businessmen Boyce Marokane and Serote Mohasoua, were greatly influenced by her.

Mamashego, as she was popularly known, was born on June 8 1918 at the Benoni Etwatwa old location. She attended Berlin School, now Solomon Motlana Primary, where she later became a teacher.

During a career that spanned decades, thousands of local kids were taught by her, touched by an angel who knew the real value of education.

Sowetan deputy sports editor Sello Rabothatha was one of them.

An accomplished cook, her delicious meals were legendary.

She was part of Izwe Lonke, a gathering of the mothers' unions from different churches in Wattville. Ruth Skeke Mapule, one of the members, this week described Sefako as a natural leader who inspired many people.

She was outspoken on issues that affected her community and a storyteller of note.

As a political activist she was among the marchers in 1959 led by Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

She loved football and was a firm supporter of Flying Stars in their heyday. Education was her biggest passion, though, and she was instrumental in the building of Solomon Motlana School and Etwatwa High School.

Sefako will be buried tomorrow at the old Wattville Cemetery. The service at the local Lutheran Church starts at 8am.