Phillip was therapeutic despite pain
Born: May 8 1922 Died: May 9 Funeral: Tomorrow in Bosplaas, Hammanskraal, starting at 7am Burial: Bosplaas Cemetery
Phillip Mabelane died with a broken heart.
Mabelane carried the pain of not knowing the truth about the circumstances that led to the death of his son, Matthew.
Matthew, who was an anti-apartheid activist, died in 1977 when he fell from the 10th floor of the notorious John Vorster Square police station in Johannesburg.
Police told his family he committed suicide, but they never bought the story.
Mabelane believed that his son was killed by police.
Mabelane’s son Lasch said it was his father’s dying wish to hear the truth about Matthew’s death.
“Despite carrying the pain for so many years, my father continued to touch people’s lives in a positive way. He was therapeutic to a lot of people,” said Lasch.
Mabelane was born in 1922 at GaMaepa village in Mashishing, Mpumalanga.
He was the first born of nine children of the late Matsobane and Nkeko Mabelane. He worked for a few months in the mines in Mpumalanga before joining a dry-cleaning shop.
Mabelane later relocated to Sophiatown, Johannesburg, in 1949 where he met his wife Mesina, who is also deceased. They got married in 1952 and were blessed with six children.
In 1959, he moved to Meadowlands, Soweto, following the forced removals in Sophiatown.
He opened his own drycleaning shop in Meadowlands in 1966.
Mabelane left Soweto to settle in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, in 2012.
He died last week after a long illness. He was 96.