Entrepreneur of note who treasured freedom

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

Like many other freedom-loving South Africans, Marcus Laban Thipe fled the country because of the injustices of the apartheid regime.

Thipe, from Dube, Soweto, was a health inspector when he went into exile in Botswana in 1966. He was later followed by his wife and two children.

He later left Botswana to further his studies in Zambia, where he met several South Africans, including the Tambo family, ANC president Jacob Zuma, Dr Motsoko Pheko and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who were also in exile.

He married his childhood sweetheart Semakaleng in 1950, and the couple were blessed with two children - Tlalane and Kgosimang.

An outstanding entrepreneur, Thipe returned to Botswana where he and his wife started some businesses. It was at one of these, the Morning Star Motel in Gaborone, where he met his death last week Wednesday. He was 81 years old.

A natty dresser, Thipe was born in 1928 in Prospect township, now called Faraday, in Johannesburg, on New Year's Day.

His parents relocated to Alexandra township and later to Soweto, where he served for many years as a health inspector.

His unfaltering ambition and drive to succeed against all odds saw him obtain an arts degree at Roma University in Lesotho, and later a law degree at the University of Zambia.

His passion was Property Law, as this had significant meaning for him after witnessing how black people's property rights were taken away from them by colonial masters and the apartheid regime.

Thipe was cremated in Gaborone on Tuesday.