Africa-Press – Botswana. I am in shock. The death of Seratiwa ‘Sthando-Same’ Tebogo, who was a friend and confidante, did not only shock me, but left me asking questions about life itself.

Not quite understood by a lot of people who encountered her after her son Letsile’s burst into the athletics spotlight, she was a loving and open character.

She was a straight talker who did not hold grudges.

All those who have interacted with her particularly in sporting circles would attest that when it came to the welfare of not only her son Letsile but athletes in general, she did not compromise.

The smart dresser and lover of finer things, Tebogo wanted to see athletes on official duty kitted in good and well-fitting outfits.

Most of our discussions were mostly about sport politics.

If there was a burning issue regarding track and field, she would drive to my work place at Mass Media Complex and we would sit in her car in the parking lot, to brainstorm on how she could diplomatically navigate the landmines in the field.

Having interacted with different people, many have their own memories of this remarkable woman and protective mother.

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) general manager Pinkie Wilson said Tebogo was a one-in-a-million parent who followed her son’s career and welfare with utmost dedication.

She said she never shied away from offering advice although it was difficult to implement some of her suggestions.

“She was a parent who wanted to see athletes excelling, and she did not only advocate for Letsile only. She wanted to see all the athletes treated well and equally,” she said.

Wilson advised other parents to borrow a leaf from Tebogo, who was not only supportive of her son’s sporting career, but managed his affairs diligently as well.

Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) Zonal Athletics coordinator, Philander Villander described Tebogo as phenomenal mother who supported her son in his career.

According to his own account, he first met Tebogo back in 2016 while Letsile was in the Under-13 Confederation of School Sport Associations of. Southern Africa team.

The team had just arrived from Namibia and Tebogo had come to pick Letsile from camp. Even on that first encounter, she did not hold back from complaining that the athletes had not been well-treated while on national duty.

“In Namibia it was extremely cold and athletes had to wear oversized tracksuit because BOPSSA did not have their proper sizes. That did not sit well with her and she did not mince her words,” Villander said.

Thereafter, Letsile went to junior secondary school, and took up football.

Villander said he personally approached Tebogo to bring back Letsile to the track, adding he was happy she did.

He said generally Tebogo had proven over time to be a super mother, adding that every time they met she would remind him ‘not to play games’ with her son.

Tebogo was also a fitness enthusiast, and she was a member of the popular club, Fearless Fitness Club.

The club’s director and physical training coach, Kealeboga ‘Kaylo’ Leruele remembered Tebogo as a loving and friendly individual who had many friends within the club. He said she was very passionate about the Fearless club brand and was always forthcoming with advice on how to grow the club’s brand. “She was our brand ambassador, and she liked wearing the Fearless Fitness Club merchandise. That created awareness within her network and immediate community about Fearless Fitness Club. There are people who joined the club because of the awareness she created,” Leruele said.

He disclosed that throughout this week, Fearless members had been turning out to train dressed in all-black to honour Tebogo’s memory.

Leruele said Tebogo had recently stopped training because she was not well, but always insisted that as soon as she felt better, she would bounce back.

Born on December 23, 1980, Tebogo passed on Sunday. She is survived by two children, and she will be buried on Saturday at Phomolong Cemetery in Gaborone.

As I prepare to bid farewell to my beloved Sthando, I try to find meaning in the words of Audrey Assad’s song; When peace like a river, attendeth my way; When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well, with my soul.”

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