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Brother Mac

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY – 30 OCTOBER

UPDATED: 30/10/2020

30 October 1954, Horse racing returns to Kimberley after a 21 year absence.
30 October 1966, Renowned Brother Mac (McManus) of CBC dies.
30 October 1997, Craig Brown awarded the Gold Class Bravery Award.
30 October 2010, Struggle stalwart Ma Mittah Seperepere dies.

The end of an era – Brother Mac dies

Francis Columba McManus, known affectionately as “Brother Mac”, was born on 30 August 1886 at Dundalk, Ireland, and died in Kimberley on 30 October 1966.

He joined the Christian Brothers on 2 November 1902 and arrived in Kimberley aged 19 years in November 1905 where for more than 50 years he proved to be an outstanding teacher and one of the leading Principals in South Africa.

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Brother Macs burial at West End Cemetery

Brother Mac presided over St Patrick’s CBC during the years 1921 – 1928, 1931 – 1937, 1940 – 1946, and from 1949 – 1955. He was largely responsible in the 24 years he was Principal for the growth of College and for reputation CBC received nationally for education, culture and academic success.

He was a man of great personal charm, a widely-read scholar, a gifted speaker and blessed with a capacity for making and keeping friends. He was distinguished too, for a gentleness and kindness that permeated his dealings with all with whom he came into contact.

The then Principal at the time of Brother Mac’s death, Brother AP MacDonald, paid tribute:

“Brother MacManus was unquestionably one of the most outstanding headmasters South Africa has ever produced.

The volume of sympathy aroused by the news of his death is ample proof that his past pupils remember him with affection and gratitude. His colleagues always found him approachable, kind, refined, and always sympathetic to their needs. He was a magnificent friend, a worthy champion of every honourable cause and he possessed tremendous determination to uphold what he considered to be right.”

Prior to his death he had been ailing for some four years, marked by suffering which he bore with exemplary patience and inspiring Christian fortitude. A great source of consolation to him during this time were the visits of the Brothers, pupils, old boys and kind friends from among the parents.

Coincidentally, Brother Mac’s funeral took place on 2 November 1966, 64 years to the day when he joined the Christian Brothers. His body lay in state at the College Chapel from noon to 3pm, and at 4 o’clock a Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral by Archbishop J Garner of Pretoria, a former pupil of Brother Mac.

At the cemetery the obsequies were performed by Bishop Bokenfohr and were attended by hundreds of friends. After the completion of the burial rites the College pipers played a lament, followed by the buglers sounding Reveille.

Pictured is Brother Mac, and his burial at the West End cemetery.

UPDATED: 30/10/2019

30 October 1954, Horse racing returns to Kimberley after a 21 year absence.
30 October 1966, Renowned Brother Mac (McManus) of CBC dies.
30 October 1997, Craig Brown awarded the Gold Class Bravery Award.
30 October 2010, Struggle stalwart Ma Mittah Seperepere (pictured) dies.

DID YOU KNOW

Mittah Seperepere (nee Goeieman) was born on 28 December 1929 at Riverton, roughly 30 kilometres from Kimberley, and died after a long illness on 30 October 2010.

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Ma Mittah Seperepere

Mama (Ma) Mittah participated in the struggle, particularly for women emancipation and actively resisted the anti-pass laws by mobilizing women in the anti-pass laws campaigns. Inspired by the Programme of Action of 1949 of the ANC Youth League, she joined the League and got actively involved in the underground structures. Her involvement gained her the attention of the SAP, culminating in her imprisonment in 1965. Upon her release she was incorporated into the structures of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto We Sizwe.

She lived most of her adult life in exile, having been forced to leave the country of her birth. Together with her husband Maruping Seperepere, they left the country for Botswana in 1966. It was from Botswana that they later relocated to Tanzania, from where she served on the Regional Political Committee of the ANC. She became the welfare officer and started a primary school at SOMAFCO (the ANC School in Tanzania).

After her husband’s death in 1981, Mama Mittah relocated to Lusaka (Zambia) where she joined the ANC’s Women’s Section. From 1983 until 1989, she served as a representative of the ANC Women’s Section at the Women’s International Democratic Federation based in the then German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

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Mittah Seperepere

Ma Mittah also represented Women’s liberation movements in the frontline countries, the English speaking African countries and the Portuguese speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique. In 1989, she was appointed ANC Chief Representative to Madagascar, La Reunion, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Comores.

In 1990, with the unbanning of the ANC she returned to South Africa and fully participated in the ANC structures and mobilized the community of Majeng and surrounding areas. From 1994 until 1999, she served as a Member of the National Assembly and in 1999 declined to return to parliament because she believed younger people should be given the responsibility. From then onwards, she became deeply involved with community development projects.

She also moved into tourism and hospitality by opening a guesthouse, Mannye’s, in the West End suburb. The Convention Centre adjacent to the Kimberley Mine Museum is named after Mittah Seperepere.

In 2014 she was posthumously awarded the Order of Luthuli (Bronze). The Order of Luthuli is awarded to South Africans who made meaningful contributions to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice, peace and conflict resolution.

(From a variety of sources too numerous to mention).

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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