Benson Ntlemo speech at the Khatisa Chavalala Cultural Foundation prelaunch dinner at Siyandhani on March 1 2019

Greeting to Hosi Siyandhani and the entire Chavalala family

Greetings to Honourable MP Joe Maswanganyi

Greetings to Greater Giyani mayor Cllr BA Shibambu

Greetings to Hosi Mahumani and all people in this historic occasion

Allow me to quote Dr Allan Paton one of the greatest writers in this country.

He said: “Fear is a journey, a terrible journey and sorrow is the arrival.”

Dr Paton went on: “Sorrow is better than fear. When storm threatens, a man fears for his house and when the house is destroyed, he does not do anything about the storm but simply rebuilds the house.”

There was fear at the house of our icon Mhani Khatisa Chavalala which culminated into sorrow when she passed on.

But since sorrow is the arrival, after sorrow people are able to pick up the pieces.

That is why we sat down and rebuilt the legacy of our fallen icon.

For many years I had been a constant visitor in the Khatisa Chavalala household as a jjournalist.

Despite the fact that she had not been privileged to see the four walls of a classroom from inside, she had outstanding intellectual capacity was easy to talk to  as well as being quotable.

That is why when she passed on some of us felt that she had no business to die.

After her death I had talked with the honourable Joe Maswanganyi that we should have a once off event in her honour but talking to her daughter Elizabeth she did not seem amused and it fell off.

In most of the times I went to the household, I was close to the mother and the daughter was not close to me.

But recently after mooting the idea to start a foundation and talking to Maswanganyi about the idea that there should be a foundation in memory of her mother seemed to go down well with El.izabeth Chavalala.

We came together to Hosi Siyandhani to seek permission to use the name and although to me it was a difficult task as I thought Hosi Siyandhani was not an easy person to talk to, everything went well, and here we are we are now about to launch the foundation.

May I also again thank mayor Shibambu and Hosi Mahumani for honouring us with their presence.

For them to bless us with their presence is an honour to us that we shall not forget.

Khatisa Chavalala was a multi award winning icon.

She did this against the odds during the heights of apartheid and recorded with big companies like Gallo and Wea.

She was also against woman oppression and her song Nqambi  ya wansati yi nga deleriwi (I must not be looked down upon because I am a woman singer)>

She also assisted those who had collided against the wall in life.

She assisted the homeless and gave them shelter and also educated destitute children.

Some are now professionals because of her.

That is the legacy that we need to protect.

Lastly there was a super journalist Agree Klaaste who was a friend of mine.

He started the “Nation Building” concept in the midst of mayhem in the black communities. People were unleashing violence on others they accused of building sellout. They torched some buildings, and Klaaste said it is wrong. We must help build structures so that when we attain freedom we do not start from scratch. I have just realised now today that this foundation is not far off from his idea.

Thank you

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