Tribute to Kebatamang Morake
“And the good is oft interred with their bones”
Those who spoke at the late Botswana Democratic Party stalwart Kebatlamang Morake’s funeral in Tonota last Sunday seemed to have William Shakespeare in mind as they praised his contribution to Botswana’s development since Independence.
A teacher by profession, Morake was appointed BDP Executive Secretary in 1965.
In October 1969 he became a specially elected MP to the National Assembly and was appointed Assistant Minister at the President’s Office with special responsibility for information services.
Two years later he entered parliament through the ballot after winning the Mmadinare constituency bye elections.
He rose through the ranks, later serving as Minister of Local Government, Health, Education and Agriculture before retiring from active politics in 1994.
The Voice spoke to many who worked with him and they praised his work ethic, humility and humour as the qualities that carried him through life, making it a joy to know him.
Former President Festus Mogae labeled Morake’s death, “The end of a generation that with humility, sacrificed their all as they steered Botswana from being one of the poorest African states into an economically and politically stable country.”
For his part, Morake’s former vice president, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who took over the Mmadinare Constituency in 1984, said Morake, who was 86 when he died, had selflessly served the BDP and the country.
“Morake was part of the generation that inculcated the spirit of consultation and peace which makes our country an envy of other democracies. He was a hard working man who loved democracy and his people. His humour and humility were his trade mark,” an emotional Kedikilwe told mourners.
Another who praised Morake’s ‘love for laughter’ was Minister Shaw Kgathi, who described the pint sized Morake as a ‘humorous, humble, easy going, selfless hard working man’.
Kgathi had mourners in stitches when he told a story of how Morake in his comical way had outwitted thieves who had broken into his house while he was in bed and home alone.
“He simply raised his knees and fooled the intruders into believing he was a child and going about their nefarious business without a care. After all who is scared of a child?”
His grandson, Gotsileene, described him as a man of the people who had sense of community, family and had a passion for education and the written word, especially poetry.
“He loved people and our home was always full of people. He also made sure that we knew and visited our relatives. We have all got a good education because he loved education and sent us to the best schools.”
Even the general public had fond stories about the man whose huge personality and massive work-ethic was in stark contrast to his diminutive size.
One woman narrated an 80s story where an overzealous lecturer at Francistown Teachers Training College gave Morake two strokes in the back.
Morake was the Minister of Education at the time and was officiating at a music competition, when the lecturer mistook him for a student.