Rufus Mpolokeng DiesRufus Mpolokeng dies (Image: Daily Sun)

Rufus Mpolokeng, Who Read First News Bulletin, Dies Aged 88

In a tragic loss for the South African broadcasting community, the iconic radio personality Rufus Mpolokeng, affectionately known by his clan name Namane Ya Tholo, has passed away at the age of 88. Mpolokeng, who made history as the first-ever news presenter in the country, died on Saturday, June 8th, due to natural causes.

Mpolokeng’s family, speaking to Daily Sun, shared that the veteran broadcaster’s legacy will live on through his remarkable contributions to the industry. As one of the seven original announcers when Tirelo ya Setswana ya Aferika Borwa (now Motsweding FM) launched in 1962, Mpolokeng played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s radio landscape.

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Tributes Pour in As Rufus Mpolokeng Dies

During the station’s early days, it was only on the air for seven hours from 5 am to noon. Bennet Koma, the coordinator of the Veterans Broadcasters Founders, and another radio veteran, Rudolf Letsoalo, formerly of Thobela FM, have paid heartfelt tributes to Mpolokeng.

Koma praised Mpolokeng as “a good entertainer and educator” who generously shared his knowledge with listeners. Letsoalo, reflecting on the broadcaster’s legacy, said,

“He was a good entertainer and educator and shared his knowledge with his listeners.”

Rudolf said:

“The old man taught us to withstand the wrath of apartheid. We learnt the spirit of Ubuntu from him from the fact that we were Sepedi speaking, and he never discriminated us. He was full of jokes that brought us together. Whenever we met on different occasions, we knew that there would be no dull moment.”

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A Legacy of Wisdom and Unity

Mpolokeng’s son, Orapeleng, described his father as a true giant who imparted invaluable lessons.

“We learnt a lot from him. He taught us that victory and losses are just a mere imposter and are not permanent. It’s how you value things that make a difference in your life. He abhorred the ‘I factor’ in every step of the way. He taught us to always say ‘We’ instead. He was also a highly religious person and an Anglican Church member to the last day. He was a teacher by profession and loved soccer and boxing.”

Rufus Mpolokeng will be laid to rest on Saturday, June 15, in Kgabalatsane, North West.

By Tayana