Mourners bid farewell to Lucas Mangope

Dimakatso Mosala and Tumiso Mosala admire the statue of Lucas Manyane Mangope at Motswedi.
Dimakatso Mosala and Tumiso Mosala admire the statue of Lucas Manyane Mangope at Motswedi.
Image: TIRO RAMATLHATSE

Mourners, friends and family members of the late leader of the then Bophuthatswana homeland Lucas Mangope came in large numbers to pay tribute at his memorial service on Wednesday.

Motswedi community hall outside Zeerust in the North West was filled to capacity as speakers took to the podium to pass nothing but heroic sentiment for the man.

Josias Hlongwa described Mangope as a man who was fond of education.

“He had an amazing support for education during his time as a school teacher and the president."

He said Mangope was a tough master and a firm disciplinarian.

Hlongwa, who met Mangope in 1963, said there was order in schools when Mangope was still the leader of Bophuthatswana.

He said Mangope implemented the primary education upgrading programme ‘which could address the problems of today’.

"It yielded good results, the methods of teaching were also user friendly,” he said.

He has done a lot and we can bear testimony for what he was done.

A man who worked under his leadership during Bophuthatswana era, Sam Dube said he was unique.

“He had a rare quality that most envied,” he said.

He said Mangope was a visionary leader and dignified. “He respected time and there was law and order during that time,” he said.

He said Bophuthatswana was a safe haven and a crime free homeland.

“He made me who I am today and I will always respect him,” he said.

Mangope died on Thursday at the age of 94.

He led Bophuthatswana from 1977 to 1994 and then after the birth of democracy was the leader of the United Christian Democratic Party.

North West MEC for culture, arts and traditional affairs Ontlametse Mochwari said the province has applied to the presidency in order to declare Mangope’s send off a provincial funeral.

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