Tributes

- Lance Phalatsi

It’s very sad to learn of the passing of Bra Joel! We’ll miss his great sense of humour and golfing skill! Condolences to the family and MHSRIP!.

- F/W 2019

Condolences to Dr. ‘China’s family may The Creator Heal and strengthen them & may HSR in eternal Peace.
I smile when I recall that HE ALSO had a nickname me always calling me MURUTI but declining my invitations to come to the SCF evening services! – Phakamile Madikiza

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- Nat Khaole

Fare thee well, Bra Joe. We will miss you but will always treasure having shared wonderful times with you at ATR and especially on the Fairways. Personally, I feel blessed to have played in your Fourball at Blair Atholl when we were resuscitating the ATR spirit. Sleep well.

-Tribute

- HALEKOPANE MATSIPA

Rangwane,

Your passing was so sudden and it really cuts deep. I have pondered on this during the last few days and I can surmise as follows: Having arrived from Limpopo as a toddler, you became my father for some years during my informative period. I believe those early years nurtured our own special bond right up to your passing. I fondly remember, albeit vaguely as a child how I would gallivant with you in your car – with me in the back seat wherein sometimes I would pass out. I remember your love for cars: BMWs and Alfas were your favourite. I remember you returning from your GP practise and finding me sick, opening up your medicine bag and treating me. Most of Katlehong was quite convinced you were my father! Our bond continued into my teenage years and adult life. I became your ‘commercial advisor’ on whatever business idea was running in your mind, even participating alongside you in some of them.

Dupi and I will miss you terribly – your wit, your support for our family and careers. So often saying to me “Hale are you ok? Your grandmother would be proud of you”.

You played the role of Rangwane stunningly well.

Rest well Motaung and greet Koko for me!

-Tribute

- Khaya Mfenyana and family

Condolences to the Matsipa family. These are difficult times as we constantly lose colleagues and family members like it has never happened before. May the soul of Joel and other colleagues, friends and family rest in peace.

-Tribute

- Thabo Seseane

This we must acknowledge: death is now our companion and no longer just a visitor. Joel Matsipa stood out with his half-quizzical, easily-amused and inspirational intellect.  He was a man who took life’s bull by its horns, and truly bloomed after ATR. MHSRIP and those of our other departed colleagues. Condolences to the grieving families.

-Tribute

- Oscar Shimange

Bra Joe, as I always addressed him. I remember at ATR when he used to practice golf chipping in the lawns. When I worked at Natalspruit hospital we worked closely as a senior colleague who
was working as an Anesthetist. I still remember the day the surgical team was all blacks, he remarked and was very happy about the day. A keen golfer. MHSRIP.

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- Bobby Ramasia

Robala last khotso Tau Bra Joel Matsipa from my Neighborhood in Katlehong, we looked up to him as youngsters MHSRIP! It’s sad indeed!

- Kholeka Radebe

Condolences to the Matsipa family. MHSRIP.

Shocking to hear that Joel Matsipa has departed. A great golfer and man with a sense of humour mingled with sarcasm. I will really miss him.

-Shorts Pooe

juju_daughter_lebo wedding
- Kholeka Radebe​

Condolences to the Matsipa family. MHSRIP.

-Tribute

- MERCIA MATSIPA

Abut’ Joel,

I’m going to miss you. You were a very humble person and soft spoken. Your subtle laughter will surely be missed. Thank you for being a wonderful, loving and caring brother to me. I will forever cherish and carry you in my heart.

May your soul rest in eternal peace. Love you always!

Your Darling Sister,

Mercia

-Tribute

- JEMINA MATSIPA

“Rangwane wa bana baka!” This is what I would often say when you were doing your thing during the good times that we shared together. You would then respond by saying, “Oh yes, the only Rangwane they have!”.

I joined the Matsipa family in 1973 and as such you have been part of my life since then. We shared all the good and bad times. There isn’t anything that I will regret because there’s nothing that we can say we did not do together.

I know that your wish was that you bury your brother. I suppose you didn’t trust us to do as great a job as you would have wanted. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. The creator wanted it otherwise.

You lived your life to the fullest.

Rangwane, I will miss you. This is a very difficult time for us. However, we take comfort in God’s refuge and strength as he has proven to be our sanctuary in times of trouble and grief.

May your soul rest in everlasting peace. Until we meet again.

Your loving Sesi,

Jemina 

Juju_thoko
juju_grandfather_lafika ZZ

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- Kholeka Radebe

Condolences to the Matsipa family. MHSRIP.

- Dr Makhado

Our deepest condolences to Bra Joe’s family and friends. A robale ka khutšo.

- Sy Leopeng’75

Sad news indeed on the passing of Bra China. MHSRIEP and the family be comforted during these trying times.

- Matome Masipa ‘65.07

At the funeral of Prof. Mogotlane last year “Ntate China” was not the usual Joel we know, MHSRIEP, condolences to the family.

Nonye Mpho Omotola nee (Phiney Matsipa) - Niece

My mother always used to talk about her brothers fondly.
When we met you were everything she said and more.
I remember each time we landed in Johannesburg from the UK, you whisked my sister and I off, straight from the airport to a party or a braai with our suitcases in the boot and we loved it!

When I was stressed about my son’s little sixth finger, as other doctors were saying it had to be operated on, you calmly told me to come to the hospital, where you tied it with cotton and told me not to worry about it.  It fell off a few days later.

You were the first person to take me to the famous Jazz bar Ronnie Scott’s in London and it will always be a memorable experience. The last time we spoke, you said you had to go to work because you were an essential worker and I was amazed at your work ethic still, in your elder years. I will miss how practical you were and how particular you were! You were my listening Uncle, my lifestyle Uncle.  

Tsamaye hantle! Robala Ka Khotso Ntate!

-Tribute

- Tribute by Merche Roux (Secretary at the Anaesthesiology Department)

We tend to think of teachers as those dedicated people who labour in the classroom, trying to drum facts and figures into our brains.  But the very best teachers are the ones who practice their craft almost by accident, whose delight in sharing what they know is so irresistible that suddenly those around them have absorbed some priceless bit of wisdom as if by inhaling it. Such a teacher was Prof Matsipa.  He treated people with simple, straightforward respect.

He was not a flatterer.  “Wonderful job,” was about as flowery as he got. He made you want him to say it to you. He was very meticulous about being on time especially when there is a lecture being presented or his afternoon tea to be served. 

He reminded me of writing neatly and correctly, and to ask if you are unsure about anything.  But on the lighter side, he was witty and always had a joke up his sleeve.  He made time to listen and gave advice.  He showed kindness to all, was compassionate, empathetic, and positive. He bridged gaps and built relationships. He inspired all.  He taught you about work. He taught you about life. You won’t even realize it’s happening. All you had to do was watch and listen.

You will be missed! May your soul rest in peace!

-Tribute

- Dr Mathibela Rakgesi

Our Immortal Professor, 

Your genuine and unpretentious interest in the professional and personal wellbeing of all those that you interacted with is easy to tell.

Your firm, yet soft and loving touch was the magic formula that percolated down to each and every one of us.

As you depart from this physical world, we want you to know that you have made an indelible mark upon which we shall strive to walk and abide by.

It is with a heavy heart that you depart in this time when we cannot gather as your former students and colleagues to bid you farewell in a manner that is befitting of your stature.

May your humble soul rest in everlasting peace. God bless you.

-Tribute

- Dr Katlego Mphahlele

You were a professor at heart, an amazing teacher, a wonderful intellect and a great soul of a matchless courage. You never gave up on me. You could see the potential in me and that’s what drove me to do my best always. I remember the special lessons in your office well because the door was always opened to your students. You have gone over and beyond for us. Thank you for being that great and special teacher. I have a future today, I am a good Anaesthesiologist today because of you my professor. You are a true legend and you will always live within our hearts.

Rest In Peace our Legendary professor.

-Tribute

- Dr Agbanu

Prof you were my teacher, my father, my friend and more importantly my in- law! I will never forget our interesting morning meetings at George Mukhari Hospital and our weekend get together at the golf course! You were my role model of a contemporary emancipated black African with friends and relatives from the entire continent. Your footsteps are worthy of emulating and your legacy shall endure forever! May God almighty console your family and give all of us the fortitude to bear this immense loss! We shall remember and honour you by living your legacy and the principles you stood for!! Rest in peace Prof! We shall meet to part no more. Adios!!!

juju_emily 1_hale wedding
juju_daughter_ lebo at hale wedding

-Tribute

- 𝘿𝙧 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙮 𝙉𝙩𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙞

𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙛 𝙈𝙖𝙩𝙨𝙞𝙥𝙖,

𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪.

𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙗𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜.

𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 ‘𝙫𝙚  𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙢𝙮 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚.

𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙤𝙥𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙢𝙮 𝙖𝙘𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙞𝙘 𝙟𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙮.

𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙖 𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙄 𝙖𝙢 𝙩𝙤𝙙𝙖𝙮.

𝙄 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙠𝙚𝙚𝙥 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙘𝙮 𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚.

𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙖𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙛 𝙚𝙭𝙘𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚

𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧.

𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙡𝙚𝙛𝙩 𝙖 𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙨.

𝙄 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚.

𝙍𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙋𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧.

-Tribute

- Dr Phenyo Moloko

I will always remember Prof. Matsipa for his strict and no-nonsense approach during our academic meetings. However, he was a caring and supportive grandfather at all times. My fondest memory was how he used to tease me about how unhealthy magwinya are and how he would never eat them and in the same breath turn around and give me money to buy them.

We made as specialist doctors due to his consistence and support. He will always be missed. Rest In Peace Prof!

-Tribute

- Dr J Joseph

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you”. -Shannon L. Alder

This is so apt. Prof was a teacher, leader and father to all of us and we will all have lasting memories of him. Personally, he was a mentor in both work and my personal life, often giving me guidance when I needed it most. He will be dearly missed by all. This is a great loss to all who knew him.

A TRIBUTE ON HIS DEATH
BY HIS FRIEND AND COMRADE

China Matsipa, yes China Matsipa.
My dear brother, my bosom friend, my comrade, my colleague, my fellow revolutionary,
my fellow mischief maker, minder of my children- Yes China you are all of these things
and many more than I can ever mention.

It’s been a journey of 55 long years, filled with youthful fun and jolly laughter, a journey
of adventure and adversity, a journey of growth and wisdom until the grey hairs and
bald pates crept on us and our grand children began prancing around our knees.
Whether by chance or providence I do not know, but we have been tied together at the
hip, like Siamese twins. It is a pity one of us had to go and I’m sad China that it falls to
me to say goodbye. We however, have to accept that the world is a dangerous place,
no one leaves this place alive.

Champion Jack Dupree, the blues crooner of our time taught us about friendship in a
most evocative and plaintive dedication to his friend called,
The Death of Big Bill Broonzy, he says,
“we made a promise between the both of us,
He promised if I was to die first he would make the blues of Champion
Jack Dupree
and he told me that if he died before me I had to make the blues of Big Bill,
so, I hated to see him go,
and it’s fortune that I had to be the one to make the blues of Big Bill,
and I know it hurts me to my heart,
but I’ll try”

Today I have to make the blues of China and it hurts me to my heart, but I’ll try.

When China joined me at the Medical School Alan Taylor Residence my friend was the
late Foxy Phukubye. In addition to being very smart this Foxy chap was the most
mischievous and streetwise fellow known to mankind. Although he was a B.Sc.
graduate and a medical student he was a township smart incarnate.To his credit he had
found me wandering in the township minding my own business and contemplating how
to overthrow the white government. He took me by hand and frogmarched me to
Medical School. In all fairness to him
I did not get all my mischief from him; after all I had come to Medical School via a 3 year
prison sentence for sedition myself.

In comes this China young man with spindly legs, big head, slit eyes set deep in his
forehead and with a wry smile that hid mischief. Perhaps it was the rebellious streak in each of us, or the mischief or the inquisitiveness that drew us together, but before long
we were an awesome threesome. We stamped our presence on the Medical School
and the Alan Taylor Residence and beyond in the whole of Durban. We consumed
everything that was consumable and drank life to the lees. It was at this time that
Dennis Madide gave China his name on account of his small eyes.

While Foxy had this exuberance and joy d’vivre, and I was always a rebel with or
without a cause, China had this studied and deliberate demeanor. It is no surprise that
he ascended the very pinnacle of academic life to become a professor. My wife and
children, who are his biggest admirers, say he is so natty in everything that he even has
a designer walk and manner of speaking.

In those early days I was still smart especially in Maths and sciences I established a self
styled Academy in my room where I offered Maths and Science tutorials. Among my
most avid students were China and Klaas Mogotlane. When Klaas was already a
professor, he always told anyone who cared to listen about how this academy helped
him understand basic physics and chemistry. Later when we were joined by another
gangly and argumentative youngster from the Eastern Cape called Steve Biko our
Academy transcended Maths and science and evolved into a most intense school of
philosophy and politics. It became a crucible of intellectual cut and thrust and a cauldron
for brewing ideas and igniting a revolutionary renaissance that was to set our country
ablaze. China was integral to those seminal marathon debates that raged between Biko
and I as we wrestled with the problems confronting black students and black people as
a whole. He was integral to the crystallization of B/C and it’s propagation, including
conscientization and the numerous confrontations we had with the regime. In fact his
name featured prominently in the Frelimo trial in which I was imprisoned for almost 10
years . It is thanks to him and his comrades that B/C gripped the imagination of the
entire oppressed nation and propelled the seismic changes that occurred in our country.
So as we lay China to rest let us doff our hats to this gallant patriot and his comrades.

Like many of our compatriots we felt seriously betrayed by the ruling class. The poor
leadership in our country, the disdain of the ruling elite for our people, the grand larceny
and the many other misdeeds are revolting in the extreme.

But we are not defeated, we remain standing and fighting.

As Ulysses says:

“Tho much is taken, much abides, and tho
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I cannot thank China enough for being part of my life. In the dark days of security terror
when my family was ostracized he stood by their side with material and emotional
support, at the risk of personal danger. He sent me a trumpet on the Island to lighten my
ordeal. He even bought me two suits and a pair of ill fitting shoes on my release from
prison. He buried my parents and I his.

That’s what a call friendship made in heaven!

It was people like him and Gees Abram and that taught me the true meaning of
comradeship in the face of danger and away from the glaring cameras and cheering
crowds.

To his children. He loved you dearly, he raised you well and gave you values and tools
to navigate your way through life. Mourn him and grieve to your heart’s content and for
as long as you desire.

But let me leave with these words from the Bible, John 12; 24

“Except a corn of wheat falleth into the ground and die,
It abideth alone;
But if it die,
It bringeth forth much fruit.”

I was a registrar at George Mukhari Hospital from the year 2015 to 2019. Prof. Matsipa was present during my interview for the position and I became well acquainted with him during my tenure. What stood out the most for me was his unparalleled dedication to teaching – it was his natural calling.

Prof taught us discipline and dedication. He would always arrive for our 7am meetings 10 to 15 minutes prior without fail. The rest of us, out of breath, would all rush in seconds before 7am risking the embarrassment of being kicked out. His morning meetings were always full to capacity with senior and junior doctors haggling for space and not giving a second thought to sitting on the floor as long as they were present. He was highly respected by all and so not attending any of his meetings was tantamount to disrespect. Prof was very committed to our development and in turn we were committed to being diligent students – simply put, we loved him dearly.

One of my fondest memories of Prof Matsipa was how he would thoroughly prepare for student presentations. As a student one would spend days on a topic, preparing for each eventuality and loophole but Prof would always present you with a scenario which would leave you speechless. To show that he took your work into great consideration he would even go as far as handing you photocopied articles of cases related to your topic encouraging you to read further.

Prof also bore no grudges. He would kick you out of a meeting only to interact with you later in theatre as if nothing happened. He would ask you about your slate for the day and after briefing him he would quiz you, share his perspective and then ask you to read further on the case.

Following Prof’s departure, the enthusiasm for morning meetings declined, moral was low and there were more seats than people. Prof Matsipa was to us a symbol of hope, dedication and possibilities. And so, his absence created a void in each of us which was painful to articulate.

My most precious memory was when in March of this year, rushing from one meeting to another, I received a phone call from a number I did not immediately recognise. It turned out to be Prof, congratulating me and my class for having passed the 2019 exam. After a brief exchange I asked him whether he was doing any private work. In typical fashion he broke out in laughter and said “I am sure I would kill somebody!”

Although Prof is gone, in us he will always live on. Perhaps that is the life we should all strive for. Rest in peace Professor Matsipa, in us your life carries on.

In the highlands of Lesotho, in the district area of Mafeteng, there are twin mountains. One is called Lehloaneng which divides the Free State and Lesotho. The other is Hlanya Masoleng. Under these rugged mountains, there nestled is a village called Taung ha Sephapho. Yonder across the river, you would arrive at the Matsipa homestead. This is our ancestral home. Before you cross the river, there is a little shop owned by an old man, Ntate Molebeli Lenkoane.

In 2017, I visited Taung ha Matsipa, for the first time. When I passed by his shop, Ntate Lenkoane, called over to me and wanted to know which Matsipa I was. Before I could explain myself, he said this;

“It is common knowledge in this area that The Matsipa’s are very intelligent and well educated. Haba tshabe buka e bile baya hlanya!”

It dawned on me in that moment that my family was more notorious than I had imagined. Indeed, upon further reflection of my father and the backdrop of this genesis, whether known or unbeknowned to him, he carried the mantle of the Matsipa legacy. From the mountains of Taung and through his life’s achievements, he truly was the epitome of our ancestors’ wishes and dreams.

I will always remember my father as someone who loved the finer things in life but more so as someone who was passionate and intentional about cultivating young black talent and excellence. The latter is the legacy we shall continue to carry.

Our last conversation began as always with the usual “Hello child” – his ultimate signature. I will miss that and wish that we had shared more moments together.

Malapa kaofela a BaKhutho:

Kabi

Matsie

Matsipa

Letshoar

Phantsi Ba’o amohele Motaung, Masia-rumo!

Golf is what brought us all together I met Dr Matsipa late in the eighties when the late Vusi Ngubeni we’re taking up golf and there was these advanced golfers already who had been playing competitive golf for some time already. Matsipa, commonly known as China, was the most accomplished golfer already having gone through caddying growing up in Katlehong.

We used to play most of our games on Sundays as most of the clubs around that time were not fully open to people of colour. In 1992 December, we decided to form a golf society with the like minded professionals comprised of Zanosi Kunene, Dr Joel Matsipa, Jerry Shongwe, Dr Mbere, Khulu Sibiya, Sydney Malabie, Zamani Jali , late Vusi Ngubeni, late Abner Mofokeng and myself.

From a golfing skills and talent Dr Matsipa was the best of our society but due to his ill discipline and care free attitude, the dominant Player became  Zanosi Kunene. The friendship grew from there and once a year we would travel both locally and overseas with families for golf and most cases after a heavy night, Dr Matsipa mostly would decide to sleep over playing golf his famous saying “ I gave it stick last night.”

Some of the fond memories about his wit, he had his way of shuttle responding when being praised for a great shot in golf so every time you shouted “ great shot doc” he would simply respond by saying “I know, that was the intention.” The greatest lesson he always taught us as our kids were growing and getting into the troublesome ages, “ children are not yours but parents are just a conduit, they belong to the creator.”

The picture represent our first Champ of Champs in 1993 which was hosted at Mark Headbush house in Johannesburg before deciding to make our champ of champs , a family affair and to travel outside Gauteng.

For some unknown reasons, the doctor decided to restart smoking and every time you made a negative comment about  smoking or his lack of appetite, his quick response would be” which medical university were you at as I have never seen you in a medical class.” We had our last game with him on the 20th June and on the 27th, he cancelled in the morning claiming that they were “giving It stick “ with his old home boy and business partner Junius Lekgetha  till early hours in the morning.

The golfing fraternity will miss him , his wit and his golfing skills which he help most of us to improve at.

May his soul Rest in  Peace.

Moss Gondwe

Uncle Joel was always my gentle giant. My go-to Uncle that understands the universe.

As a young man, Uncle Joel was always there for me. His understanding of family was so compassionate. The funny thing is that he felt the same way about his patients, his students and his friends.

  When we reconnected as a family in the early 90’s. It was just one phone call from my Mom in the UK. He didn’t hesitate. He flew all the way to London to invite me to Johannesburg. 

I asked him why he didn’t just call. He laughed and said that it was because he wanted to invite me in person over a beer and a cigarette. I was completely disarmed and could feel the family love in that instance.

I flew over to Johannesburg (my first trip to SA) and stayed with Uncle for a couple of weeks. We spoke endlessly about life, family, love and responsibilities. The trip was so memorable. It left an indelible mark in my heart. I was only 22 years old.

My uncle Joel was very deliberate with his words. He was a man of principle. He loved teaching and he loved learning. He encouraged expression and he allowed room for growth.

It was my birthday on July the 5th. You can therefore only imagine the medley of emotions that I felt when I heard of his passing on the morning of July the 6th. On my part, I can only imagine the tributes that will come from his friends and some of his former students.

Uncle Joel was as constant as the Northern star. Always there for you. Never judging anyone. It is difficult to accept that he has gone to rest. Uncle Joel lived an accomplished life. He achieved all of his goals. I am therefore inclined to celebrate him. I would like everyone to think of him as a hero of life. I will remember his smile.

I will remember his love of family.

I will never forget my Uncle Joel. Rest In Perfect Peace Ntate.

Till we meet again xoxox.

Achuzie Ezenagu

Managing Director/CEO

TOUCAN AVIATION SUPPORT SERVICES LTD

Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

Once again, we are assembled to pay tribute to a man of honour, gentleman and scholar.

Joel better known as China had an impeccable intellect, immense wisdom, and yet he was humble, compassionate and humorous. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. He had a stinging tongue with a dismissive style that would disarm anybody on the receiving end.

In the words of Shakespeare “His life was gentle and elements were so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say this was a man.”

To me he was a kid brother that I never had. We first met at University of Natal Medical School. I was impressed by this soft-spoken pint size intellectual giant with an incisive brain. I had good memories of my life with Joel both at medical school and Soweto after he qualified as a doctor.

He joined me as a partner in my General practise. He stayed with me in my house in Soweto. Nice parties we had. He was an avid golfer who was a marvel to watch on the golf course. He could execute golf shots that are legendary and pleasure to watch. Can only be repeated by Tiger Woods.

He premature exit from life has left us with a void that can only be filled with remembrance, joy, friendship and love.

Joel was small in stature but was fearless and courageous in the face of danger. I recall him challenging a mean gangster in Soweto. I was so scared as always and took him home quickly knowing what could happen to him, if not me. The gangster was equally scared not knowing who Joel was and also disappeared quickly too.

He started his successful medical practise in Katlehong. He was loved and respected by the community. Later in his live he ventured into academia. He specialised in Anaesthesia and qualified as a specialist Anaesthetist in Medunsa. He had an illustrious career in anaesthetist, involved in teaching under graduate and post graduate students. He was later appointed as Professor of Anaesthesia in Medunsa and he was later appointed consultant in the Clinix Group of hospitals until his untimely death.

At one stage I had to visit him in Katlehong at his home. I met his mother who didn’t know me, to whom I respectfully asked for the whereabouts of Matsipa. I was severely admonished by his mother who said “That Joel is not Matsipa, Tota is Matsipa”.

Jabu Mabuza once jokingly said to Joel, that I never thought you take alcohol until I saw you sober. Joel was highly political together with his friends Aubrey Mokope and Foxy Phukubye. He was active in student politics; he was one of the founders of the Black Consciousness Movement. He was later despondent about the arrogance of power in politics of the day.

I am saddened about the unexpected, premature death. Death is nothing but a cheat, it has removed Matsipa physically from us but he is still with us in spirit. His memory will always be part of our lives.

“Death lays his icy hands even upon kings”.

Death leaves us with a heartache no one can heal, love leaves us with a memory no one can steal. Time is a physician that heals every grief.

Joel Matsipa adored his daughters immensely. He relished in their academic achievements. I had promised to attend his daughter’s wedding in Nigeria later in the year.

I want to thank Emily his partner, for taking care of Joel in his later years. They were like twins.

Lala Ngoxolo my brother, China.

Allow me to pass our condolences as Bra Joe’s medical colleagues to the Matsipa Extended family on the passing of Bra Joe. It was with sadness that I learnt of his passing from Dr Ernest Kenoshi on Monday (6 July 2020). Your loss is our loss, as the Community of the then Alan Taylor Residence, Austerville where Bra Joe resided during his junior medical degree training. We have a Chat Platform aptly named ATRes Memoir on Telegram having morphed from a WhatsApp Group named Alan Taylor Res Memoir. Memories have been shared since Monday about Bra Joe and many tributes and condolences have been sent to The Extended Matsipa Family and I will not repeat them.

Thank you to Mpho, who on behalf of the Matsipa clan afforded me the privilege of writing down a short tribute to Bra Joe (as I called him). When she tried to call me I missed her call because I was on the Golf Course at Country Club Johannesburg (CCJ) – how coincidental and possibly fitting because Bra Joe was such an accomplished golfer and had displayed his golfing skills on CCJ to many of his golfing buddies and anyone else who might have been watching. Coincidentally, it was at CCJ on Sunday (5 July 2020) that I learnt from Moss Gondwe that Bra Joe was admitted to hospital.

Contact was made with a number of colleagues who were with Bra Joe at Alan Taylor Residence to hear what they will miss about him or what they remember about him and it was interesting how certain themes emerged from their remembrances and memories about him during those days at Alan Taylor Residence – HIS UNIQUE DRY HUMOUR, HIS WITTISMS, HIS TOWNSHIP CRED AND HOW HE PORTRAYED IT.

Important to note is that some, if not most of them, have passed on but I will mention a few living colleagues and a few who have passed on. I called Aubrey Maitshwe Mokoape, Chappie Palweni, Ben Mgulwa and Peter Tlakula and they remembered many things about China which I will not repeat but will add vignettes as I conclude about this man. How I could have loved to have heard from Bra Foxie Phukubye, Bra Charles Siwele and Bra Klaas Mogotlane on their remembrances about China. May Their Beautiful Souls Rest In Eternal Peace.

At Alan Taylor Residence he also played softball and was at his best when getting at the opposition and dredging them. I remember matches against Turfloop and Fort Hare during Intervarsity Softball matches.

He loved listening to Jazz and singing Jazz songs. I wonder if he sang in the shower. He actually had a very good voice but he might not have realised it because that could have been a second career sic! There is a song by Clark Terry that we used to play in my “He-Been aka Res Tavern” entitled “Tread ye Lightly” and the sleeve had this message – Tread ye Lightly amongst the dead and trust not the living”.

Lastly but not least, I also had a chat with his brother Bra Tota. They called each other Matsipa and got at each other all the time. That was one of Bra Joe’s attributes – he loved and adored his brother unreservedly and never failed to show it to those who could see. Whenever he spoke to Bra Tota you heard his best wittisms and humour not forgetting that Bra Tota is just a mirror image of his brother’s humour and wittisms.

Dr Peter Tlakula remembers:

They were in sitting in the Canteen at Medical School and Bra Joe turned to him and said “Pete, how I dislike these cadavers”. Little did Bra Joe realise that he would end up in later years sending people into deep sleep that was almost like they were dead.

Dr Mandla Mazizi remembers with fondness and appreciation:

Bra Joe gave him his furniture and equipment when Mandla was setting up practice in Vosloorus. This was when Bra Joe was winding up to go to specialise in Anaesthesiology. Mandla further notes that they met as amiable opposition (O- Nozakazaku) in a Lobola Negotiation session at the late Bra Klaas Mogotlane’s home.

Dr Chappie Palweni remembers:

  • Out of the blue at Alan Taylor Dining Hall during breakfast, Bra Joe came to his table and put his finger in his coffee and said “Baklei as jy wil”. That was Bro Joe spoiling for a confrontation or trying to send a message using his Township Cred.
  • The day Bra Joe came to Medunsa he met Chappie standing with Dr David Kgwete (Mrito) and greeted them. David Kgwete left and Chappie remembers Bra Joe’s comment “I know I was full of s..t at Medical School but I did not expect someone to turn his back on me after all these years of not seeing him”.
  • Dr Thabo Seseane proposes:

    After Bro Joe’s funeral let us have a discussion about a Prof. J J Matsipa Annual Golf Day.