Ferguson made Setswana fashionable

The re-emergence of Shona Ferguson clips in character as Jerry Maake is a fitting tribute to a man, who like HHP, made Setswana fashionable, says the writer.
The re-emergence of Shona Ferguson clips in character as Jerry Maake is a fitting tribute to a man, who like HHP, made Setswana fashionable, says the writer.
Image: Tshepo Kekana

In recent days, death has portrayed itself as that annoying visitor who comes uninvited and stays until late.

The unexpected death of Shona Ferguson reminds one of the beautiful words of the first president of the ANC Youth League, Anton Lembede, about seven months before he himself died, when he said: “No man outside asylum can shamelessly maintain that present leaders are immortal. They must, when the hour strikes, inexorably bow down to fate and pass away, for there is no armour against fate; death lays his icy hands on kings."

Paying tribute to the Pharaoh of African studies Dr Cheik Anta Diop, Prof Ivan van Sertima said it is not for us to say that the death of a man comes too early or too late, fate is far too complex. Ferguson's death came right in the nick of time.

As a Tswana-speaking person who shares a popular opinion that we are not well-represented on TV, I felt a sense of relief when the Fergusons covered to a great degree Setswana in their television dramas. The Throne, which was based on the history and civilisation of Batswana, will live on as a great legacy Ferguson is leaving behind.

Though here and there the Tswana that was spoken on the drama somehow fell short, the effort should still be applauded. This could mean that it was hard for the production house to find actors who spoke the language fluently – just as it was once difficult for the SABC TV to find an eloquent Motswana female newsreader.

I may not be a huge fan of television but I did make time whenever I could to watch Ferguson in action. I quickly lost interest when his part was cut short. In other words, I only watched TV to see him. He was an epitome of drama.

Hilarious videos of Jerry Maake have been circulating on the internet since the day of his passing. This, I believe is a fitting tribute to a man, who like HHP, made Setswana fashionable. In  Setswana, they say Kgaka e ntsho e fofa, mebala re e bona e sule (a person's deeds are only recognised when he is dead.)

Tebogo Brown
 Witpoortjie, Roodepoort

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