Lebo WA Majahe Rest in Peace
By Judy Stockill – Catholic journalist Kelebogile Francina “Lebo” Majahe passed away suddenly on Sunday, May 26. She was buried on June 1 at the young age of 35.
Her passing was unexpected and a shock to the Catholic community of the archdiocese of Johannesburg.
Widely known as Lebo WA Majahe, her byline in ADnews, she stood at the threshold of a new phase of her life. Just days after she succumbed to pneumonia, she was to have graduated from college with a diploma in public relations.
Her son Kamogelo was in his first year at Krugersdorp High School and she had been attending church at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, also in Krugersdorp.
She had made it known that she was intent on furthering her career and was job-seeking. “Little did she know,” said Archbishop Buti Tlhagale at her funeral, that “now was the hour of her death”.
Lebo was devoted to Our Lady and to the Mother of Mercy shrine to be erected at Magaliesberg, the archbishop said, thanking God for Lebo’s gifts and reminding mourners that God is rich in mercy.
The Life of Lebo
Lebo Majahe was born on December 31, 1984, to the late Taetso William Majahe and Priscilla Mamane. She went to school at Mofumahadi Catholic School in Kagiso, Mariasdal High School in Tweespruit in the Free State, and then Mandisa Shiceka High School in Kagiso where she matriculated.
Lebo did an internship as a radio journalist with Radio Veritas. She was studying journalism at Boston College when she volunteered in 2009 as a journalist with the ADnews.
I had started only months before. Lebo had the theory and I had a little experience on a community weekly paper. There had been no office for the Diocesan News at the old chancery, so by degrees and squeeze we settled ourselves in the room with the switchboard equipment which at one time had served as a vocations office. In time, Lebo befriended all the seminarians of the archdiocese.
Together, from our windowless cubbyhole with an old laptop that no one else wanted—and later a spanking- new desktop, the one that is on her now-vacant desk in the newsroom—we developed the content of the Diocesan News which we quickly renamed the Archdiocesan News, to reflect the priorities determined by the archdiocesan synod of 2008.
We set up the first Facebook group for the archdiocese — quite daring in those early days of social media. Lebo built it up to the more than 6000 members, and used it to good effect in her evangelising work.
She threw herself wholeheartedly into fundraising for the new chancery, going with the car raffle to parishes to “get the story”, just as she did more recently for the shrine fundraising.
Lebo attended World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 and with her characteristic determination set about raising funds for her ticket and for the group. She also went to WYD in Krakow, Poland, in 2016, reporting for the ADnews and The Southern Cross.
Fundraising and great networker
Lebo was the go-to person for branded coffee mugs, blankets and T-shirts for all fundraising.
Another of the causes Lebo supported with her usual gusto was the sainthood cause for Bl Benedict Daswa.
She made good friends among the Catholic community of that part of Limpopo, some of whom travelled to her funeral.
She supported the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference in promoting the beatification ceremony for Bl Daswa, and wrote articles about it for ADnews, The Southern Cross and various websites.
Lebo was a great networker. She built Catholic community at all levels of society, from cabinet ministers and archbishops to children making their first communion. She wormed her way into the hearts of a great many fellow Catholics.
She was a bundle of energy, resourceful, determined, a great networker yet fiercely independent and private, almost to a fault. She was so private that few knew that in the recent elections she worked as an election-day volunteer.
Lebo was a Catholic: a staunch Catholic, an active Catholic, a supporter of the institutional Catholic Church and its officials. She was also a devout Catholic, enthusiastic and sincere in her devotions to Our Lady, St John Paul II and Bl Daswa.
The last giggle we had together was at St Augustine College in Johannesburg, at the bestowal of what amounts to an honorary doctorate on Archbishop Tlhagale. She was on assignment and I was attending as a guest but got a mention as an ADnews reporter. “Tough!” I whispered to her. Quick as a flash she said: “You write the article and we’ll share the by-line.”
All that vitally that was Lebo is no more.
Lebo is survived by her mother Priscilla, son Kamogelo, sisters Boitumelo and Neo, niece Onalenna, and her life partner.