Ramodike given a send-off 'fit for a king'
FORMER chief minister of the Lebowa bantustan, Nelson Ramodike, was given a funeral fit for a king.
Ramodike was buried at the Moime cemetery near Lenyenye in Limpopo yesterday.
He died on May 3 after a long illness at the age of 70. Politicians, traditional leaders, business people, church leaders and school children came in their numbers to pay their last respects to a man who was once appointed minister of public works and transport under the late Dr CN Phatudi.
Among those who attended the service, held at the Lenyenye Stadium - which was built and opened by Ramodike himself - were embattled Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, provincial MEC for public works, Thabitha Mohlala, ANC MP Humphrey Mokgobi, mayor of the greater Tzaneen municipality Dikeledi Mmetle, head of the provincial department of roads and transport Ntau Letebele and former ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu.
Ramodike's two wives, Cathrine and Julia, comforted each other throughout the proceedings, as well as his 10 children and 10 grandchildren. The family showed strength even when the coffin was lowered into the grave.
Addressing multitudes of mourners at the stadium, Mathale lambasted the Sunday World for reporting "negatively" about Ramodike and ignoring the "good" things that the deceased had done for the people of the province.
His reaction followed last week's story in which we labelled Ramodike a "puppet" and a "political chameleon".
"We are disturbed by the newspaper which reported badly about Ramodike. Despite exercising his democratic right of joining any political party, we are grateful that at last Ramodike came back home to the ANC," Mathale said.
Ramodike hopped from one political party to the other from the dawn of democracy in 1994.
Apart from the ANC, he also had stints in the Bantu Holomisa-led UDM, PAC and the Alliance for Democracy and Prosperity, before rejoining the ANC.
Ramodike's cousin, Motinki Mahlo, said of the funeral: "Since its establishment, Moime village has never experienced a funeral of this magnitude. We want to convey our sincere appreciation to everybody who supported us during our time of grief."