The sad news about the untimely death of Donald Moore shocked me to my bones. The last time I was in his company was at the funeral of our late sister and companion, Beata Kasale, four years ago in a neighbouring farm in Mochudi.
Having spent the past three years in South Africa as a Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) and Editor of Ad Astra Magazine (the mouth piece of the South African Air Force), I arrived back to Botswana on 1st October 2021 to the unbelievable news of Don’s departure from mother earth.
As I held that copy of The Voice Newspaper and looking at the pictures of Don splashed from one page to the other, my mind went back to the passage of time when I first met this larger than life personality during the dark days of apartheid in South Africa, as I lived in a house of exile as a political refugee at Dukwe Refugee Settlement, north west of Francistown.
I was introduced to Don by the late veteran journalist Sekgopi Tshite. During the late 1991, while living in Dukwe, myself and Tshite started a rural reporting desk with the controversial weekly tabloid News Link Africa. Our rural news coverage included areas such as Dukwe, Nata, Dzoroga, Mosetse, Camxhoree, Tutume and surrounding areas. As history would have it, News Link Africa was later discovered to be a covert newspaper meant to infiltrate and defocus liberation movements in Southern Africa.
When the discovery happened prominent journalists such as the late ‘Chamza’ Rampholo Molefhe, Douglass Tsiako, Sekgopi Tshite, Mabala, myself and many others were thrown into disarray as we found out that we have been trapped into working for an apartheid newspaper.
Tshite was working as a Bureau Representative for News Link Africa while based in Francistown, as I handled the rural reporting desk for the paper and based in Dukwe.
As we dispersed from the controversial News Link Africa, some of us found refuge in the then Francistowner Magazine in Francistown before it was converted into The Voice.
It was around this time that Tshite introduced me to Don as a potential stringer from rural areas in the north west of Francistown.
The introduction took place in Don’s office in Francistown.
My first impression of Don’s personality was that of someone who was shy and not-so- forth-coming in the presence of strangers.
As our relationship grew much closer and I contributed rural news articles to Don as Editor, I came to know him as a colossal human being with an inquisitive mind and humorous attitude towards fellow human beings.
The other characteristic I picked up of Don was his love for fellow human beings.
Unlike some of his fellow white compatriots, Don did not harbour racist feelings of discrimination based on skin colour.
When I visited and first slept in his house in one of the Francistown surbubs, he directed me to a room next to his and his wife, Maeve.
As we entered the house, he introduced me to his kids as uncle Frans Pale. To this day, when I meet George (his son) and his siblings, they know me as their uncle.
As we drove from Francistown to Gaborone during the nights, taking the paper for printing at Gaborone Printers, we discussed many subjects including religion, science and politics.
When he became aware that I am a Black Consciousness adherent and activist from South Africa, Don was surprisingly encouraging.
Unlike other white people I have met and discussed the philosophy of Black Consciousness with (especially the liberals), Don regarded BC as a greater weapon to fight the thesis of the obsolote apartheid.
He was highly respectful of the views expressed by the late father of Black Consciousness Philosophy in South Africa, Stephen Bantu Biko.
As I write this tribute for him, I do so with a deep sense of loss, especially since his demise came about while at the seas. He used to speak fondly about the waves.
ADIOS Don. The distance we have travelled together is now done. Sleep well my dear fellow. Goodbye my friend.