‘Small in stature but powerful in spirit’
Friends and family pay tribute at memorial for former columnist and author
Entrepreneur, author and former Herald columnist Kazeka Mashologu-Kuse may have been small in stature, but she was a lioness with a big heart who was not afraid to confront the strong and powerful.This is just one of the things friends and family recalled about her during a memorial service at the Tramways building in Valley Road, Port Elizabeth, on Tuesday.Mashologu-Kuse, 34, who faced breast cancer head-on and wrote a book about it – #Braveheart with Red Lipstick – died last week.She had seemingly beaten the dread disease, first diagnosed three years ago, but discovered that it had returned a few weeks before she died.Many at the gathering of about 40 people on Tuesday night shed tears as they spoke of her kindness and bravery.Theo Klaas, of Klaas Management Solutions, said Mashologu-Kuse had touched the lives of many who came into contact with her.“She was small but powerful. She had her own way of challenging the system.“She was not shy to hold the powerful to account. She was a doer.“It came as a complete shock when I heard she had passed on,” he said.Some of those present spoke of the impact Mashologu-Kuse had had on their lives, her dedication and fearless spirit.Businessman Mkhuseli Jack said when he first launched his book, To Survive and Succeed, Mashologu-Kuse came all the way from East London and was the first one to speak about it.Neil Campher, a mentor and friend, said his relationship with her went back to 2006.He said he had started an initiative at Nelson Mandela University, where he brought together public relations companies to teach the students basic selling skills.“We took them into a process for four days.“On the fifth day, we lined up interviews for them, saying ‘go and selling something’.“They had to make phone calls and we gave them what to sell.“They raised R500,000 for worthy causes in the city and Kazeka was one them,” he said.Campher said MashologuKuse was talented, self-confident and prepared to tackle anything.“One day she came into my office very excited.“She told me the good stuff. But you could also see there was something bothering her.“I asked her what was the matter?“She said ‘I am struggling with cash flow’. She started crying.“This was the first time I saw her cry. I saw her vulnerability,” he said.After she composed herself, he wrote two paragraphs on a computer and showed them to Mashologu-Kuse, who questioned whether this was how he could describe her life.A week later, he said, she wrote an article which was published first in the Daily Dispatch and later in The Herald.“A few days after that she was appointed as a columnist for The Herald newspaper.“She wrote more than 300 opinion pieces.“She learnt from the pain and that is the beauty of her spirit. Every time she had a problem, she channelled the negative to the positive.“She worked the problem. You don’t just give up,” he said.Mashologu-Kuse proudly posed for photo shoots after a mastectomy to show the world that she would not be robbed of her femininity.She also wrote for the Daily Dispatch, O Magazine, City Press and Women24.She was a Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Top 40 under-40 achiever in 2014 at the age of just 29.She will be buried in East London on Saturday.