Tribute to Johanisi Mandla Mahlangu

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SH HATTINGH

16 February 2021

Be assured, you will be missed. Hamba Kahle Johannes, ‘til we meet again.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

In the time of COVID-19 we hear about people falling ill, and people dying. Somehow, however, it remains a distant possibility, something that happens to other people. This is until a fateful morning when someone close to you confides that he is not feeling well. For Mandla Mahlangu’s colleagues at Willem Cilliers Attorneys, that date arrived on 3 February 2021. Despite Mandla immediately being sent for medical attention, his illness progressed steadily and led to his unfortunate demise on Friday, 12 February 2021.

Though we are stunned by the suddenness and the finality of it all, we also have a heartfelt desire to honour Mandla as a loyal staff member and an invaluable cog in the machinery of our practice. Albert Einstein said: ‘The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.’ In one word, Mandla was a man who gave. He gave much to his work, he was loyal to his employer and loyal to our clients. That is why we would like to speak in celebration of his life. Here was a life that demanded notice, a life that inspired emulation, a life that burned so that others’ paths be lit. His neighbours in Wesselton will remember him as the guy with the Houghton house in Mabuza Street, the man with the dazzling garden who tried to uplift his community.

A man strong of conviction and not shy to weigh in when needed. On a cold winter’s day, 11 July 1994, Mandla and I started a journey on an uncertain path. We started small with baby steps but with a firm belief that the future will be bright. Oh, what a journey it turned out to be, and along the way Mandla became a trusted friend. A journey that lasted for 28 years. The journey that ended to soon! The character of the life he lived might be summed up on a few words, he was sincere, he was earnest, he was loyal. The road without you beckons, Mandla, and it promises to be lonely. Be assured, you will be missed. Hamba Kahle Johannes, ‘til we meet again. - Contributed by Willem Cilliers.