Dr Monyake: go well gentle giant

Dr Monyake: go well gentle giant

MAFETENG-SOCIAL media was abuzz as tributes poured in for Dr Moletsane Monyake, who succumbed to Covid-19 on January 6. He was 36.
Dr Monyake was treated at Thetsane hospital after showing symptoms of the virus, before being referred to Mafeteng as Thetsane hospital had run out of oxygen, only to find out that Mafeteng had a similar problem.

Many Basotho said his untimely death has deprived his family and the nation of a great person and an academic giant.
Mlets, as he was popularly known, was born to the late ’Mapotlako and Mophethe Monyake at Ha-Konote. He was an alumni of the National University of Lesotho, University of Cape Town (UCT) and University of Sussex.

The last born of three siblings, he is survived by a wife and two sons.
After graduating from St John’s High School with a first class, he chased his dreams of becoming an internationally acclaimed political science guru.
According to his brother Thulo Monyake, Dr Monyake loved God since his childhood due to the influence of their late mother and he ended being an assistant pastor.

He described Dr Monyake as an intellectual giant who completed all his degrees with flying colours.
After completing high school, he got a temporary job to teach Form A and B at St John’s while awaiting admission at NUL.

He briefly worked at the Institute for Southern African Studies (ISAS) before proceeding to the UCT for his Master’s degree and then returned to NUL to work as a lecturer.
He also studied for his PhD at the United Kingdom’s University of Sussex, and completed it in 2014. He was still teaching at NUL at the time of his death.

“He always spoke up his mind regardless of the mood or situation. We fail to accept and let go of his sudden death but it’s just a matter of time and God will help us move on and heal,” said his brother, Thulo.
He said Dr Monyake was asthmatic.

Thulo said at one point Dr Monyake thought he had beaten the disease.
“It was on his 12th day battling with the symptoms and he believed he had won and all his focus was on recovering. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the support he needed; that of oxygen,” said Thulo.
“I am really struggling to cope as he left with so many plans ahead. It is through prayer that we are trying to cope,” he said.

One of Dr Monyake’s friends, ’Mamello Rakolobe, said their friendship started when they were classmates at NUL around 2002 until they became colleagues.
She said they were “not very close” as students but their friendship got a boost after their paths crossed again as colleagues teaching in the same department at the university.

“When his wife visited his office, he would joke about how he topped the class and then we would laugh about it,” she said, adding that Dr Monyake was lately helping her with furthering her studies.
“The good thing about him is he never made me feel stupid and I was comfortable to make mistakes and give wrong answers,” she said.
“Ai, he was always joyful,” she said.

Pastor Mohau Moeketsi, Assistant Pastor at the Assemblies of God Church, said he met Dr Monyake in 2007 at an Assemblies of God youth conference.
“My first impression of him was that of a difficult man who I never thought I would ever be close to, let alone be colleagues in pastoring,” he said stating that his perception changed quickly when he heard him speak at the conference.

“He was fierce, anointed and passionate. I fell in love. His approach towards work was impeccable, always prepared and delivered in excellence all the time. He was an extremely powerful preacher.”
A colleague at NUL, Thabang Mofana, said he was inspired to be an academic by Dr Monyake.

“We always had a connection. He was young but he was my mentor as I wanted to be in the same field. So I looked up to him and took his advice on the best teaching and research methods,” he said.
Mofana described Monyake as “very energetic”.
“He would connect the different generations of staff within the political and administrative studies department from the oldest professor to the youngest lecturer,” said Mofana, recalling their last Christmas party together when he randomly made him do the “Duduzane challenge”.

“He said ‘eh Mr Mofana you are the only one who will understand this not these dinosaurs’, so he pushed me and said so do it and I started doing it and he was right by my side,” said Mofana.
He said he was very passionate about administration and politics in Lesotho; his area of specialty was corruption.

“He researched a lot on corruption. Often, he would tell me about corruption dynamics in the country and worldwide,” he said.
One of his former lecturers who was now his colleague, Professor Motlamelle Kapa, said Dr Monyake was “different” from the rest of the students.

“He was highly intelligent, always eager to learn new things and always ready to take any challenges that came,” he said.
Laughing, he said he would put him on the spotlight during lectures.
“He would allow me to continue with my lecture and towards the end raise his hand to ask a very pertinent and penetrating question that would expose you if you were not prepared. He would make very useful contributions during discussions, helping others in the process,” he said.
“We have not had many students graduate with first class but he did it,” said Professor Kapa.

He said just before his death, Dr Monyake and some colleagues had launched a book project on coalitions in Lesotho.
“His submission was readily accepted by the reviewers,” said Professor Kapa, adding that “we were really looking forward to have a masterpiece with him because of his unique skills of quantitative methods that the majority of other contributors didn’t have as they used the qualitative approach.”

A Political and Administrative Studies student, Khotso Masheane, remembered how he first met Dr Monyake.
A lecturer, Dr Seroala, was disappointed with their performance and told them to be prepared for someone who would be tough on them in the Comparative Public Administration course.

“We were all so scared when we finally met him because we had been told that he was the equivalence of a decision to cross the Rubicon. To our surprise this was a very different person and we liked him so much. He had his ways of doing things, indeed a free spirit.”
Thabana Morena MP Selibe Mochoboroane said Dr Monyake was his “secret political adviser”.

He bemoaned the way Covid-19 had decimated the country of its youthful talent.
“He helped me a lot… his death came as a shock,” he said.

Mapule Motsopa

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