Former Member of Parliament for Molepolole North Constituency Gaotlhaetse Utlwang Sankoloba (GUS) Matlhabaphiri was laid to rest on Saturday.
Multitudes of people including former Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe, cabinet ministers, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members, and United Congregation Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) gathered at Ga-Ranta ward to celebrate the life of GUS and bid him farewell.
GUS as Matlhabaphiri was fondly known was born in Molepolole on November, 06, 1949.
One of his friends Pono Moatlhodi remembered his departed frind as a vocalist and founder of an international choir.
He said Matlhabaphiri was the first politician to record a cassette at Radio Botswana.
“I was part and parcel of the Matlhabaphiri’s family due to our friendship, in 1995 in a congress held in Mogoditshane GUS taught me to take records for the numbers of our voters. We launched each other from 1999 to 2012,” Moatlhodi said.
He continued to say, “In 1997 during the commonwealth countries meeting held at Boipuso hall, Matlhabaphiri addressed me about the importance of wearing the national colours and today when I am not wearing the colours of our national flag I feel like I am naked, I was taught by GUS tsala yame ya go swa le go tsoga.”
The fallen politician had remained a golden thread of the BDP, UCCSA congregation, the Bakwena tribe and the nation, Moatlhodi noted.
The BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi called on their members and supporters to emulate Matlhabaphiri in working hard for his party and for his country and thanked the general public for their support.
“He was a servant first and a leader and last but not least he was a team player, may his soul rest in peace we learnt a lot from him and we will continue where he ended,” said Kedikilwe
Matlhabaphiri has served this country with dedication and distinction in various capacities having started as a Bank Clerk in 1971 later becoming a teacher at Capital Continuation Classes and a Diamond Sorter at Botswana Valuing Company.
He served as a High Commissioner to Botswana in United Kingdom, Namibia and Ambassador in Sweden.
He also served as an MP in 1979 to 1984, 1989 to 2004, 2009 to 2014. He also had several ministerial portfolios such as Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Home Affairs, Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and Health between 1979 and 2014.
Matlhabaphiri, who lived with an enlarged heart condition for years collapsed and died on June 28th 2018.
He leaves behind his four daughters, their mother and two grandchildren.