Drama at  musician’s funeral

Drama at musician’s funeral

MAFETENG-POLICE caused drama at the funeral of Ngaka “Lepenzo” Mahao, the right-hand man of Terene gang chief Mosotho Chakela last Saturday.
Differences between the police and members of Terene group nearly turned violent when heavily armed cops arrived in the middle of the funeral proceedings and separated men from women before searching all males.
The police were looking for guns and the Terene group regalia which normally comprises of yellow and black blankets, T-shirts and hats.

Word had reached mourners that the police would pounce so none of the men who attended the funeral had the items except for one man in his early 20s who was found in possession of a hat.
He was ordered to lie on the ground in the scorching sun for hours.

The police also ordered the mourners not to sing their traditional burial songs (makhele) as is the gang’s custom.
But it was an order by the gun-wielded police officers for all men to stand still during the search that seemed to have irked people the most.

Mourners shifted their focus from the funeral proceedings and glued their eyes on the police operation. Mourners were already frustrated by the police actions before the search.
“We were also ordered not to sing a mere lekhele by the police,” Lekhooa Mahao, a brother of the deceased, said.
He said they were banned from performing their rites at the funeral.
He argued that this was uncalled for because his brother was an artiste and it was their legitimate expectation that they would sing for him on his final journey.

Mahao is survived by his wife and two children, a boy and a girl.
His children wept inconsolably as their father’s body was lowered into the grave.
Mahao was shot dead on December 19 between Morija and Ha-Toloane by an unknown gunman who is still at large.
No arrests have been made in connection with Mahao’s killing. The police said they are still working around the clock to bring those involved to book.

Lekhooa said the police had earlier informed them that the wearing of famo related regalia was not allowed at the funeral service.
Although the burial was attended by many people from nearby villages, Terene members from South Africa were not in their multitudes as is usually the case at most funeral services of the group’s members.
The leader of Terene, Rethabile Mosotho Chakela Mokete also did not attend the service.
Speaking to thepost three weeks ago, Chakela said Mahao’s death was a great loss to him because he treated Mahao like his own child.

Chakela said he was hoping that Mahao would grow into one of the country’s best famo artistes in the near future.
Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said they decided to ban the famo gangs’ attire at the funeral service because of fears of violence.
He said police had also realised that the gang’s funeral songs contributed to the conflicts between the warring rival famo groups.

Supt Mopeli said they want supporters of the famo groups to attend funeral services of their loved ones just as ordinary Basotho people do.
“People should not be afraid to attend funeral services because of the regalia,” he said.
The ban on famo gangs’ regalia did not start with Mahao’s funeral service.
It has been enforced at other funeral services recently.

Majara Molupe

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