By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA-The late prolific Sesotho author Dr Kgotso Pieter David Maphalla has been honoured with a special category 2 provincial funeral, which will see the official flag fly at half-mast at all government buildings in the province.
This was disclosed by Education MEC Dr Tate Makgoe at the memorial service for Dr Maphalla held at Phuthditjhaba Multi-Purpose Hall on April 12. He will be laid to rest at Bohlokong, Bethlehem on April 14, and the SAPS will provide security and, where needed a mount escort and public control.
“We have decided to write to the president requesting him to declare this funeral be categorised as a special provincial funeral. As we speak, I have just received a message that our request has been granted.”
Makgoe also announced the provincial government’s intention to rename one of the local schools after the late Dr DKP Maphalla Makgoe, whose books he described as a unique benchmark.
“His books have what we seek to address in our schools. They are exclusive, logically written and provoke emotions.”
The Free State born Maphalla, a prolific author of Sesotho literature who has written more than 70 books in his career that spans over 40 years, might have gone, but his legacy will remain and be passed to generations to come through his literary workswhich have been prescribed for use in schools and tertiary intuitions. They have also been the subject of research by Masters and PhD students at universities.
His work includes dramas, poetry anthologies and novels.
A representative of the University of Free State who was also Maphalla’s neighbour at Mmakong Dr Sara Motsei, revealed that Maphalla was her English teacher at Tshibollo Secondary School in 1977.
Motsei also disclosed that Dr Maphalla wrote his first book, Kabelwa Manong, at the age of 27. Not only that, but he has also written two books in English in addition to translating Afrikaans books.
“Most of his books were about the impact of apartheid and this is reflected in his book titled ‘Dikgapha tsa ka’. His talent is not going with him to the grave, it remains with us to use. Now, I have honours students at the UFS who are researching his book.
Weighing in, famous TV and film legend and renowned actor who known for his role in the Sesotho drama Mopheme, Khotso Nkhatho bantered that his writing was inspired by Dr Maphalla’s books even though he never told him that due to jealousy by then.
“I have known Dr Maphalla since 1975 when he joined me at Tshiya Teachers’ College. I was a fan of his drama. His work influenced my passion for writing, and it continues to inspire me.
“The person who inspired my writing even though I never give him credit, is Dr Maphalla. He had already a book that I liked most when he joined us at Tshiya and even after a fellow student made me aware that he was the brain behind my beloved drama, I did not congratulate him, purely because of jealousy. But what makes me happy is that after I was fired from Lesedi Fm, I managed to go back to him,” said Nkhatho in his trademark humour.
He described Dr Maphalla as a humble person who remained grounded despite his achievements and accolades.
Delivering condolences, the MEC for Sport, Art, Culture and Recreation Limakatso Mahasa had this to say:
“The loss of Dr Maphalla is akin to the closure of a resourceful library which many of us looked upon as a lodestar for development of literature in the Free State and beyond.
Maphalla may have passed on, but his archived worked will be a continued treasury. He received numerous accolades, the apex of which was an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Free State. From winning the Orator of the Year Award as a student at Tshiya College of Education in 1976, he went on to amass a string of awards which included Radio Sesotho Astea, Thomas Mofolo Floating Trophy, and recognition from several publishing houses.
The Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation who said they were honoured to deal closely with Dr Maphalla through his works, were able to recognise his contribution to Sesotho Literature with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
According to the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, to ensure that his legacy lives on, it has a repository of Dr Maphalla’s work which public can view at the Sesotho Literature Museum.