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MP Marwick Khumalo writes tribute to the late Senator Masalekhaya Simelane.

Friday, 14th June, 2024

Senator Masalekhaya Simeon Simelane was a coat of many colours, he had a strong Christian background, embraced people from varied political persuasions, deeply endeared in sports and upheld his cultural heritage. 

Masalekhaya was an orator in both languages, SiSwati and English and three instances come to mind that created a strong bond between himself and I, during his lifetime. 

Firstly, as Director of Sports and Culture, he spearheaded the drafting of the National Sports Policy where he appointed me with others to serve in that committee.

I was still a Broadcast Journalist at the time working for SBIS, that kind of partnership in sports would see us going to the regional neighborhood, Lesotho, Botswana, you name it. 

The second instance, was when the Senate appointed a Select Committee to inquire into the reported outbursts that he was alleged to have made on national radio attacking Senators of the Fifth Parliament who during the debate were critical of his office, he hit back. 

I had conducted the interview with him and I was called upon by the Select Committee to submit the tape.

I did not only submit the tape but replayed it as commanded the Select Committee. As a journalist,I was duty bound to protect my source.I did what I could to attend to the tape, professionally prior to submission.

The final part of our pathways crossing again, is very remarkable and significant in that we and many other like-minded fellow citizens founded Sive Siyinqaba “Sibahle Sinje” around 1996, he served as its first very outspoken, and articulate Vice Chairman. 

Simelane was a very humble and down to earth character, whose continuous laughter could never be mistaken and had become like a hobby.

In 1998, he was elected by the House of Assembly into the Senate, he served five(5) years. 

Masalekhaya was naturally brilliant and no wonder he left a mark at the then University of Botswana and Swaziland. Eswatini has lost a very fine and patriotic citizen. 

Our condolences go to his family and his children. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Lala ngekuthula Mnguni.

MP Marwick Khumalo writes tribute to the late Senator Masalekhaya Simelane.
The late Senator Masalekhaya Simelane.