The grandstands will never be the same without Zathu Masekela who was the embodiment of the culture and tradition of the game in Limpopo.
THE cheerful voice that was a consistent feature wherever Lebowakgomo Wild Beasts Softball Club were playing has left a deafening silence, a void that can no longer be filled…
This follows the passing on of Maropeng Masekela, an unwavering supporter of the Beasts brigade.
Affectionately known as “Zathu” among his circle of associates, Masekela joins the legion of softball legends who have departed with alarming frequency over the past few months, leaving a massive void in the ballgame.
Masekela fell in love with softball way back in the early 1970s when he was a learner at Hwiti High School where he matriculated.
He continued to be a member of the softball fraternity during his student days at the University of the North (now University of Limpopo) where he obtained his B. Com degree in 1975.
A dedicated softball administrator, Masekela was one of the key figures who contributed to the popularity of softball in the province, ensuring that Limpopo becomes the home of softball and that legacy lives on hitherto.
While he was still in good health, he served as chairman of Wild Beasts for three consecutive terms – a job he executed with great aplomb.
It was under his chairmanship that the club produced national players like Thabo Tawana, Derick Mahapa and Raymond “Beer” Matlala. His absence at the annual Heroes Tournament hosted by Wild Beasts on December 26 last year was conspicuous.
The man who worked tirelessly with him during the glorious day of Great North Softball Association, former public relations officer, Pat “Fingers” Moyaha described him as a lover of softball and the embodiment of the culture and traditions of the game here up north.
“Due to ill health and away in Pretoria, that forced him to miss this tournament since its inception some 15 years back. When the tournament was in full swing over the festive season, he insisted through SMSes that we should send him pictures of the proceedings. Zathu was arguably one of the greatest supporters of softball in the country.
“Both Softball South Africa and Lepelle- Nkumpi Municipality confirmed this by awarding him with a certificate of appreciation last year. Softball grand stands will never be the same without Zathu,” Moyaha sadly said.
“Zathu”, the first child of the late Seth and Phoebe Masekela, was born on 31 March 1952 in the former in Georgen Walts District near the Vhembe town of Louis Trichardt.
A workaholic in his prime, the young Masekela broke his back as he worked for numerous institutions, including the erstwhile Lebowa Government, Landeberg Co-operation, Murray and Roberts, SA Permanent Building Bank and Rothmans International where he retired in1999.
Born with an entrepreneurial DNA, he pursued a bakery business after retirement. Masekela was also involved in glass recycling through RAMADE Recycling.
Not only was he an aspiring goat farmer but was also involved in community services where they were building sanitation ablutions in Seleteng village in the Ga Mphahlele area.
Masekela met his death while in Pretoria on January 4 after a long illness.
He is survived by his seven children, eight grandchildren, his brother Emmanuel, sister Refiloe, nephews and nieces.
Zathu will be laid to rest on Saturday, 13 January 2018, at Silicon cemetery south of Polokwane, Limpopo.
Robala ka khutso Mokoena!