Mourners honour huge role Monde ‘Mr Fix It’ Tabata played in their lives

The funeral of Monde Tabata was held at the Downtown Christian Centre in East London on Wednesday.
The funeral of Monde Tabata was held at the Downtown Christian Centre in East London on Wednesday.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

A problem solver and a unifier — this is how SA Rugby executive member Monde Tabata was remembered at his funeral service on Wednesday.

The rugby fraternity has been in mourning since news of Tabata's death broke last Thursday.

SA Rugby Union president Mark Alexander, speaking at the service at Downtown Christian Centre in East London, shared his memories of Tabata, who served for 10 years in the executive.

Tabata has left a gaping void in many lives, as well as in the game of rugby. He never settled for playing small

“Tabata has left a gaping void in many lives, as well as in the game of rugby. He never settled for playing small. He lived a life that demonstrated who he was and what he cared about.”

He said Tabata, well-known as “Mr Fix It”,  had a generous spirit and unshakeable belief in the inclusive future of their game.

“Monde gave us so much, and he gave constantly, from his student days at Rhodes University, where he was a founding member of the black student’s movement and president of the University Rugby Club, to his chairmanship of the East Rand Youth Movement and Children’s Trust and his limitless contribution to rugby.” 

Tabata served his role well in Saru and was also their Eastern Cape expert, Alexander said. “He always went beyond his duty as an independent member; he was always a man we could depend on.”

Becoming emotional, Alexander described Tabata as a friend, confidant, colleague and a true family man. “On behalf of Saru, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family.”

Paying tribute on behalf of the family, Dumisani Tabata said they were shocked beyond belief when receiving the news of Tabata’s passing.

The Tabata family was grief-stricken; inconsolable. Our pain will not be stilled for a long time. He faced his illness with courage and determination

“The Tabata family was grief-stricken; inconsolable. Our pain will not be stilled for a long time. He faced his illness with courage and determination.”

His brother-in-law, Mxolisi Nkula, said Tabata had shown love and respect for his wife and her family. “We will forever cherish the love he showed us, his in-laws, and it was reciprocated,” Nkula said.

Tabata is survived by his wife Pula, eight children and five grandchildren. His only son, Sakhiwo, spoke on behalf of the children.

“Our father had a certain confidence when it came to us as his children. He would often brag that he knew us better than we knew ourselves, and he was right. He loved us all.

“During his life, our father’s biggest mission was to have all of his children under one roof. It’s unfortunate that the mission was accomplished in this way. We promise to carry on his legacy,” he said.

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