Diplomat extraordinaire gone

IT was on a hot, sunny noon in Bulawayo on March 5, 2019 that we laid Ambassador Buzwani Donald Mothobi to rest at Lady Stanley Cemetery — not far from Mzilkikazi and Makhokhoba townships.
He had died on Wednesday the previous week — again almost at noon.His funeral was attended by simple folk and it was a very quiet event.He hated publicity. The speakers were few yet they all had so much to say. Mothobi was a gentleman. He carried himself with dignity all the time. 

He was a professional and never raised his voice yet when he spoke people paid attention. 
Never did he ever seek the high table, he was always happy in the background and for a man who represented the head of State in several countries, this was an anomaly. I do not recall reading about him in any newspaper either his virtues being extolled or aspersions being cast on his character. 
He was just beyond reproach. He never spoke ill of other people, he always sought the good in others. 

If one started to talk ill of another, he would simply say, “Oh that one” and you were left wondering whether the “that one” referred either to the individual or what you would have just said. 
He was always reserved and invariably wore white, black and grey.
He was a complete teetotal and hence his sober habits.

While he went to two schools, Inyathi and Goromonzi, it is the latter he really spoke about with enthusiasm. 
He was very judicious with words and hardly ever spoke out of turn.
His turn of phrase ‘I’ both English and Sindebele was impeccable.
He just loved work. 

During the time we lived with him in Mabelreign, Harare, I noticed that he would leave home at about 0645 and I believe he always was first in the office and all his former colleagues confirm this. 
From the above account you may be forgiven for thinking that he was an austere slave driver. 
He was not, they say he led quietly and it is his deportment that whipped people into line. 
He loved young people and was always careful how he imparted his profound knowledge to them. They all speak volumes on his transfer of knowledge.  

He was on the administrative side of the war effort in Zambia. 
Some people have spoken about his activities in the struggle but he never did really speak about that chapter of his life. He would never beat his own drum. He was a family man to the hilt and this is testified to not by his wife nor his children but by his colleagues. 

He always spoke about his family even at work. Those of us who were close to him can confirm that. Even very early in life taking his small family on short holidays was a priority. He was a good husband and father.

As a non-drinker he never had Friday nights with the boys. He was always home reading. The only time he would be without something to read was when he was talking or indeed sleeping.  
He loved music. His favourites were Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and Stimela, Joe Mafela, Miriam Makeba, Dorothy Masuka and a whole host of South African singers.

In the early days we had fights. He loved Dynamos FC and I was Highlanders FC I never could imagine how one born and bred in the western part of the country could ever support a Harare club. 
His love for DeMbare soon waned and I believe it was because of the demise of those of his peers in the club, the likes of the late Morrison Sifelani and the players of that era. It is indeed difficult to understand how you swam so serenely in waters so infested with avarice and greed and yet you came out at the other end unscathed. 

You were uncompromising in your search for rectitude and integrity.
Is it a wonder then that his Excellency saw it fit to appoint you to chair the University of Zimbabwe Board and after your retirement from the diplomatic service, the State Procurement Board, two parastatals that have not been without controversy, yet you just glided above the storms.

Zimbabwe is the more poorer by the loss of men like you and they were very few. The disappearance of the likes of you leaves a void the young generation will find hard to fill. 

You leave this country when it sorely needs you and if the departed have any influence on those they leave behind, please team up with those that went ahead of you and get us out of this quagmire.  

My brother, seka Dudu, I will miss you. I will miss those hours we spent talking quietly by the fire. I will miss those reminders of our mutual wedding anniversary the 14th day of December in 1974. 

I will miss you Dr Mothobi, who while others clamoured to be known as such you kept it all submerged under your veil of modesty. 
Hamba kuhle mfowethu, uyesikhonzela kwabaphambili.


 

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