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Motšelisi Ramakoae remembered

Bereng Mpaki

RELATIVES and friends have described the late Motšelisi Ramakoae as a lively character who enjoyed life and was eager to take on challenges.

Ms Ramakoae, was the daughter of Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister and Matsieng constituency legislator, Matšepo Ramakoae.

The cheerful and outgoing Ms Ramakoae died on 4 February 2021 after battling Covid-19. Her remains were cremated on 10 February and a final send-off ceremony was held in Maseru for her last Saturday.

Minister Ramakoae yesterday thanked family and friends for “the part you played in Tšeli’s life and for making her send off as warm and meaningful as it was”.

“Your contributions, prayers and words of encouragement have given us the strength to get through this difficult time, and to remember how much love Tšeli left in this world,” Minister Ramakoae said.

“We have been so blessed to be able to celebrate her life with so many of her dear friends and family, near and far, and have felt her love through the warmth extended by you. She will live forever in our hearts.”

The late Ms Ramakoae was known as one person who charted her own unique journey through life. She worked for several organisations among them Mothae Mine and Kick4Life. She was also actively involved in charitable initiatives with Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Bereng’s Hlokomela Banana, which was instrumental in sourcing sanitary wear for disadvantaged girls.

At the time of her death, Ms Ramakoae was the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) chairperson as well as the country chairperson of the African Women in Energy and Power (AWEAP).

In a social media post announcing her demise, her family described her a s lover of life who was loved by all she interacted with.

“It is with immense sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved daughter, sister and friend,” reads part of the post.

“She lived and loved with every fibre of her being. A passionate lover of life, she fought hard for it until the end. She was loved by many across the world and the gravity of her loss will be deeply and proudly felt. Tšeli was friends to many who would no doubt love to celebrate her life.”

Advocate Lindiwe Sephomolo, a friend and also the AWEAP chief executive officer (CEO), described Ms Ramakoae as a go-getter who never let circumstances get in the way of what she wanted.

“I have known Motšelisi since our days at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). Though she was younger than me, we became close… In Motšelisi I had a loyal, efficient, supportive, loving and true friend. I have lost a soulmate.”

So friendly was Ms Ramakoae that she was always up for conversation with anyone, Adv Sephomolo said.

“She was always cheerful, compassionate and inclined to see the good in others. This is why she had friends from all over the world and of all ages. She was full of energy, participating in everything and anything. She especially loved outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, golf, running, swimming, skiing and camping.

“She was a quick learner; nothing would pass her by. Apart from her own specialties, she was knowledgeable in the law, the economy, politics and technology.  I even remember a cousin of mine asking if she was a lawyer. She used to think big and she followed her dreams.

“One of her favourite sayings was: ‘When life hands you lemons make lemonade’. This is just a reflection of how flexible she was she never allowed circumstances to determine her destiny. She was tireless, fearless and seldom compromised.”

Ms Ramakoae was fun loving and outgoing. But she was also vibrant in domestic settings setting trends with her style and elegance, Adv Sephomolo said.

“Tšeli loved to travel and at times she even vacationed alone if there was no willing companion. She has been to almost all the continents and her bucket list was always growing.

“As for me, she has left me with good memories and a legacy of values, ethics and character.”

Phomolo Lebotsa, a work associate to Ms Ramakoae described her as a larger-than-life character.

“I cannot claim to have been close to her, she was an acquaintance. In 2019 an organisation called AVANTI came to host a workshop for the Ministry of Agriculture. Motšelisi was its in country consultant. We spent a few days working together. This gave me a glimpse of her personality. Tšeli was a larger-than-life character. She would draw you in with her ebullient disposition. She owned her space.

“Motšelisi was lover of golf. I suspect that she may have convinced many of her friends to give the game a go. Lately, we saw her posting about her hiking exploits. Like everything she did, we saw her throw herself at this with much fervour.

“She also looked like one who loved travelling the world, and yet her feet also remained firmly grounded in Lesotho. She could have easily chosen to move elsewhere but like a few of us, she stayed to contribute to this land of our forefathers.”

Maseru Golf Club president Nkau Matete said Ms Ramakoae’s passing was a huge loss to the sport as she was always inspiring female golfers.

“Tšeli’s passing is a big loss to the golfing community. She was one of our most popular and consistent female golfers. She was also good at the sport having won our flagship tournament the Mohokare Classic twice.

“She was also a good ambassador of lady golfers and has even represented the country in international tournaments. Among our current crop of lady players, she was the most experienced. I can only hope that her forages in the sport have and will inspire young girls into taking interest in golf,” Mr Matete said.

Ms Ramakoae was born on 23 January 197 at Scott Hospital in Morija. She went to Iketsetseng Primary School before enrolling at St Stephens for high school. Afterwards she went to NUL where she attained a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Physical Geography in 1995.

She obtained her masters degree in Science and Geographical Information Systems from Stellenbosch University, Cape Town in 1998.

After her masters degree, she was employed by Spatial Dimensions as a geographical information systems specialist in 1999. She then moved back to Maseru in 2003 to join the United Nations Development Programme as an environment and energy officer.

Three years later, she was appointed country manager for Motapa Exploration, a diamond exploration company that was responsible for establishing Mothae Diamonds. She was to work for Mothae Diamonds as chief accounting officer from 2009 until 2016.

In 2017, she established Morali Consultants, a consultancy providing environmental management, monitoring and evaluation and social services to different developmental projects in mining, construction and infrastructure projects.

“Motšelisi contributed to various charities including Hlokomela Banana, Kick4life and Riders for Health. She was an avid golfer and had a passion for hiking and cycling,” a statement from her family said.

“Motšelisi started feeling unwell on 7 January 2021 and was referred to Mediclinic in Bloemfontein by her doctor on the 11th January. She was initially admitted to a general ward where she showed some improvement. Eventually, she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the 22nd January 2021 where she remained until she met her demise on the 4 February 2021 despite the immense efforts of the doctors and nurses, to whom the family will remain deeply grateful for,” the family said.

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