The late folk guitarist Malefo “Stampore” Mokha was laid to rest last week Saturday in an unusually quite ceremony in Molepolole.
Perhaps it was in order, for the fallen legend.
He was not known to be vocal, choosing instead to turn his frustrations into songs.
Perhaps his guitar and music were his only remedy to the hardships he has endured in life, and some of those hardships are clearly chronicled in the song “Mapharangwane.”
Mokha’s funeral attracted a sizeable crowd across all social classes; his modest home perhaps for the first time hosted politicians, music stars and Bakwena royals.
The who is who of the music industry among others Taolo Moshaga, BOMU President Alfred Mosimanegape, Kast, Vee, Kearoma Rantao, Berry Heart, Mosako, T.H.A.B.O and promoters Oliver Groth and Zen Hirschfield also graced the ceremony.
However the ceremony itself lacked the spark that usually characterizes funerals of people of Mokha’s stature.
A couple of years ago, when one of the folk guitarist Phika Ditsebe was laid to rest, his fellow guitarists played hymns and most of the memorial songs were recorded on radio and later played on Radio Botswana.
Although in status Ditsebe was ranked below Stampore, he was accorded a burial befitting an artist of his reputation.
However it was not all doom and gloom. Kaone Mahumba lightened up the dull affair with a beautiful poem as he led the bearers to the legend’s final resting place.
To sum up Mokha’s modest sending off hundreds of mourners arrived first at his grave and the corpse arrived a quarter of an hour later.
In Setswana culture the corpse should be the first to arrive at the burial site with the mourners humbly following from behind.
However for a man who has always been considered last from his childhood, perhaps it was in order that mourners rushed to his grave; leaving him behind where he belongs.
It was also no surprise that, no one remembered to bring the spades needed to shovel gravel on Stampore’s modest coffin.
A good Samaritan had to rush back home to fetch the spades after the Master of Ceremony Shima Monageng realized that, the necessary tools were nowhere in sight.
One mourner summed it brilliantly. “He lived a humble and modest life and was laid to rest in a humble and modest way. If he could wake up; he would probably sing about.”
Hopefully his guitar will be well taken care of, to avoid what happened to Ratsie Setlhako’s legenday instrument.