A Eulogy to Alson Magiliweni Matukane

Vamatukane, Vaka -Matukane, VaMabaso na Vaka-Mabaso,maxaka na vanghana na n’wina hinkwenu vakhandli va nhlonge, hina vadyondzi-kulobye va Alson vale Maripi-Orhovelani, hi ri xewani, chavelelekani, kurhula ka vumunhu ni vupfumeri a ku ve na n’wina.

We, as members of the Maripi-Orhovelani Alumni Association,feel greatly honoured to join you in bidding the final farewell to Alson Magiliweni Matukane. We join you in mourning his tragic loss and celebrating a great life lived well.

The man we are about to launch to eternity was a man of character. A man of exemplary character, amply demonstrated by his caring, compassion, courtesy, kindness, generosity of spirit and deeds, thoughtfulness and sheer good manners.

Charles de Gaulle, former president of France, advises us that “One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day was; one cannot judge life until death.” Indeed, now that the sun that was Alson Matukane has set, we miss the sunshine of his compassion, we miss the sunlight of his effulgent personality and his infectious laughter.

Alson was born on 4th April 1952, two years before the introduction of Bantu Education. He was thus destined to be trapped in Bantu Education restraints, constraints and man made handicaps. Imbued with the talent of outstanding intelligence, a talent he duly nurtured and nourished, Alson triumphed over Bantu Education. He distinguished himself as an outstanding student from primary school at Maviljan through secondary/high school at Maripi-Orhovelani, to tertiary education at Madikoti, University of Witwatersrand, and Vanderbilt University in the USA.

At Maripi Alson belonged to arguably the best Matric Class in the history of that high school: the class of 1971, amongst the best of whom were Alson himself, who sat next to Flora Maphophe, Dr Prof Eddie Mhlanga, Dr Philemon Maepa, Dr Abel Selahle, Dr Matthew Phosa, Dr Wilson Mgiba, Dr Wilson Mabunda, Alpeus Nonyane and Faith Mashiane. We fondly remember these as the brilliant magnificent ten.

In military parlance it could be said that Alison is a soldier who died in his boots. On that fateful day of Alison’s tragic demise, 10th June 2021, he and his friend-cum-business partner, Eric Pretorius, were on duty professionally assisting one James Michaelis to access water on his farm in Hoeadspruit. Matukane was a dyed in the wool professional engineer. He soared above race and ethnicity, serving South Africans regardless of race, gender and ethnicity. He had friends and associates across the spectrum of South Africa’s citizenry.

Barely two hours before his last breath, my wife Mumsy and I had the rare occasion to chat to him telephonically. During that rare moment of conversation, laced up as usual , with his characteristic laughter, we went down memory lane about our delightful years at Maripi. He also undertook to sleep over at Hoyohoyo Acorns Lodge in support of our fledgling hospitality initiative.

He was on his way to work on the project of rebuilding and renovating Maripi High School.

About two years ago Maripi-Orhovelani alumni who attended the high school in the 1960s and 1970s established an alumni association whose cardinal objective was to restore the high school to its former glory and relaunch it firmly into the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY. In the words of Alson’s colleague and friend, Dr Wilson Mgiba, when the project was launched, he plunged into it like a man possessed. He sacrificed his time and spent countless days and ensured that things got properly done. He was the leader of the INFRASTRUCTURE TEAM. The team indeed came up with both contemporary and futuristic plans. He was scheduled to meet his former schoolmate and fellow alumnus , Dr Matthew Phosa , on the Saturday, June 12th 2021 to inspect the ground to build the new class room blocks, library, computer and admin rooms. His commitment to community and national development was unquestionable.

Now that we face the painful reality that the man who was fondly called Kokwana Matukane by the younger members of Maripi-Orhovelani Alumni association has transitioned to eternity, we may derive solace from Art Buck’s comforting observation that: “Nature, in her wily way, Provides for our terminal care; It’s quaintly called eternal rest, And all of us get the same share.” Magiliweni Alson Matukani, ndzima ya wena u boxile Talenta ya wena ya vutlhari bya ku dyondza u yi andzisile Migingiriko ya wena ya vunjiniyere bya mati ni magondzo yi tikombile Mikondzo yo chivirikela tiko ra Afrika-Dzonga u hi siyerile.

Lay down your civil engineering paraphernalia,
Your nation-saving deeds during the 1993-1995 drought
Are worthy of being laid at heaven’s door.
Your inspirational leadership and disciplined management
Provide signal lessons of life for those who care to learn;
Your dedicated and diligent work ethic is worthy of emulation
Your caring and affectionate family life, complemented by
Your love and generosity for kith and kin bespeak
African humaneness, the essence of African Humanism-VUMUNHU
Rest in eternal peace Alson Magiliweni Matukane
Mintirho ya wena yi vulavurile.YOUR DEEDS HAVE INDEED SPOKEN.