Mme Mabel Khumalo's funeral to be limited to 50 family members

Doctor Khumalo
Doctor Khumalo
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The family of Kaizer Chiefs legend Doctor Khumalo said only a limited number of family members will be allowed to attend his mother’s funeral amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mabel Khumalo died at Netcare Union Hospital on Tuesday following a long illness.

The family’s spokesperson Telavukosi Mabasa said: “While we value and appreciate your support at this time, the family would like to appeal to our neighbours and community at large to assist us in keeping within the stipulated rules. Therefore, only a limited number of the Khumalo family have been requested to attend the funeral.”

Mabasa said the family wished to adhere to the rules and regulations stipulated by the lockdown as declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa announced that no more than 50 people will be allowed to attend each funeral service and that funeral processions and services must be started and completed within one hour.

“We acknowledge that her church, friends, neighbours and the community would like to commemorate and celebrate her life. We commit to afford all the opportunity to do so at a memorial service. The time and venue will communicate in due course.”

Mabasa said Khumalo passed away with her children Doctor and Fikile at her bedside.

Meanwhile, tributes poured in for the woman who gave birth to and raised one of SA’s brightest soccer stars. Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung paid tribute to Khumalo and said he was grateful for the contribution she made to the popular club. “She was a wonderful person who played her supportive role in the background," he said. "I knew her in the late '60s when ‘Pro’ [Doctor's father Eliakim ‘Pro’ Khumalo] was playing for Moroka Swallows before joining us to form Kaizer Chiefs in 1970.

"And, it is known that her son Doctor Khumalo grew up at Kaizer Chiefs and developed to be a household name in international football. We can only be grateful of the contribution that Mme Mabel made to Kaizer Chiefs and football in general.”

Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza said the news comes at a difficult time when the nation is in lockdown in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus. “Mme Mabel Khumalo, mother of Doctor Khumalo, has departed," Khoza said. "Our hearts and prayers are with the Khumalo family. We received the sad news of the passing of your dear mother Mme Mabel Khumalo at this difficult time when our nation and the world are in lockdown.

"We are grateful to Ausi Mabel for her role besides the legendary late Eliakim ‘Pro’ Khumalo for nurturing an era defining talent, Doctor Khumalo."

The Bafana Bafana legend is synonymous with Chiefs and followed in his father's footsteps at the Naturena club. Chiefs said in a statement the club was reeling after the news was confirmed on Tuesday night.

"Kaizer Chiefs family is reeling with shock after receiving the sad news of the passing of Mme Mabel Khumalo. Mme Mabel Khumalo is the wife of the late Kaizer Chiefs stalwart and founding member Eliakim ‘Pro’ Khumalo and the mother of the living legend Doctor Khumalo," the club said.

"It is regrettable news to receive especially in this time when we are in distress due to the coronavirus pandemic that is currently sweeping the world. Words cannot describe our sympathy as Amakhosi to Doctor Khumalo and the entire bereaved family during this difficult time."

Further details of the memorial service and burial are due to be announced at a later stage.

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