CityLife Arts

Tribute to S’busiso Mseleku: Remembering the day when we shared that stage in Soweto

By Edward Tsumele

As tributes continue to pour for veteran sports writer S’busiso Mseleku who died yesterday, two things come into my mind. One, only last month Mseleku had reached out to me in a Face Book friend request, and each time I tried to accept, a message popped up saying his quota of friends was exosted. In other words; he had reached his quota of 5000 friends.

I naturally got frustrated and abandoned the exercise in despair. I could not call him to say he had reached his quota as that would mean that to accommodate me, he had to delete someone. However within a week, the way was clear for me to accept his request. I am not responsible for the unfortunate misfortune of the person he obviously had to delete in order to accommodate me.

The other thing that came to mind is when last year we shared a podium in Diepkloof Hall, Soweto. The folks in Soweto had decided that I, Mseleku and Memela had done enough in Journalism to be awarded certificates of appreciation handed by philanthropist Sphiwe Msimang.

Edward Tsumele, S’busiso Mseleku, Sandile Memela at an award ceremony in Soweto in 2019. PICTURE CREDIT/Courtesy of Jabu Kumalo

Can you imagine the feeling one had to share the same space with these two giants of journalism, Memela in the area of the arts and Mseleku in sports?  In my acceptance speech, I had little choice but to point out that these two were in many ways my senior who had long paved the way for me and my generation in this sometimes thankless profession of journalism.

Now can you imagine the shock I got when I learned that the brother passed on before we could communicate on Face Book as brothers. Till to date I really do not know what it is he wanted to speak to me about, but I am sure it was something constructive and special to do with this profession that we have chosen for ourselves. Of course that is now not going to happen because the brother has gone to the other world.

Mseleku was a giant in sports journalism, particularly soccer. He might have made mistakes in life, like all of us are bound to do in our lifetime, and that is human, but what one cannot find fault about him is his commitment to telling the South African soccer story for over many decades. I am of course not a sports journalist, but an arts journalist, and am sure his fellow sports scribes can tell a much better account of the brother’s commitment to telling the South African soccer story.

But what I can say is that Mseleku’s contribution to sports journalism could not escape the attention of even soccer snobs like me (I only started getting real interest in soccer in recent years because my son, Edward Junior, who is almost 13, is crazy about the dam game and has sports awards from his school to prove it).

Like I say I am not the one to tell a perfect story about Mseleku but those who worked closely with him are as tributes continue to pour in.

Mphuthi Mphuthis: ”We were working on a collaboration to train sports guys in business skills so that they don’t keep dying poor. He shall be greatly missed,” says Mphuthi Mphuthis.

Mambele Millie Manaka: “May his soul rest in peace.

“Our condolences go to the Ndlovu family. Gomotsegang abuti Duma. Thank you Gazi,” says vegtran radio presenter Brenda Susane

Londa Mashiyane :”My deepest condolences to the Mseleku family may his soul rest in peace.”

“He was a larger than life character. He cared deeply about football,” concludes journalist Don Makatile.

“Duma Ndlovu has just broken the news that his cousin, brother, friend and friend S’busiso Mseleku has passed on I say, much as we hurt and sad, we shall not mourn. We shall celebrate his life.

As Diepkloof poet Matsemela Manaka said, ‘ the fear of death is the fear of life. The dead are not dead.’

What can be said is that, God has been gracious to you, Gatsheni and to us, too .Above all, God has been gracious to S’Busiso Mseleku I say so because through Bra Siphiwe Msimang, Sibu drove to Diepkloof Hall a year ago to receive a certificate for his ‘outstanding contribution to sports journalism’

This honour was bestowed upon him by a man who had watched his career grow to flourish to a legendary sports writer, analyst and commentator At this event on June 16 2019, nogal, Sibu was his exuberant self and had over 500 guests eating out of his smooth tongue in his Thank You Speech Lord, the big guy could talk. He had a big tongue that regaled the house with stories that had them in stitches And that was the last time I saw and heard him. It was beautiful.

God has been gracious to us.  He has been gracious to Sibusiso who was a blessing to his family, friends and the nation at large As he rests, the only memory that dwells in my mind is Sibu in MY township, Diepkloof, to receive the highest honour from any black community in the country And Bab’ Msimang did this while Sibu was alive  So I have very little to say about his passing In fact, we should not mourn, author and journalist Memela writes on his Face Book page honouring  the fallen sports scribe.

May his soul rest in peace.

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