THE family of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s late former wife, ‘Matoka Judith Thabane, says they find comfort in the knowledge that she died “happy and at peace” after living a long and full life.
Ms Thabane (79), whose maiden name was ‘Mamotapanyane Yayi Fobo, died on Saturday last week at her Katlehong home where she lived alone. She is expected to be laid to rest on Wednesday.
When the Sunday Express crew visited the residence on Friday, King Letsie III had also visited to offer his condolences to family members.
According to family representative, Tsebo Fobo, Ms Thabane – who retained her former husband’s name after their divorce – had been battling various chronic illnesses including arthritis.
“She was regularly in and out of hospital as someone who was chronically ill, so we believe she succumbed to one of the ailments,” Ms Fobo said.
She said the deceased was found lifeless on Saturday morning in her home.
“On the day leading to her passing away, neighbours said she was seen sitting outside basking in the warmth of the sun in the afternoon, and the windows to the house were opened.
“What surprised the neighbours though was that the windows remained open late into the night and were still opened in the morning.
“So, when members of the family came to check on her in the morning, her lifeless body was slumped on the floor.”
Another family member, Themba Fobo, said while her death had devastated the family, they were comforted by the fact that she was “happy and at peace” in the last days of her life.
“We are sad that she is gone, but we are at ease knowing that she was a happy woman in her last days, especially for someone who was advanced in age,” Mr Fobo said.
A devout Catholic, Ms Thabane died clutching her rosary, according to Ms Fobo.
She was a member of the Sodality of St. Anne in the Catholic Church.
“To us that is an honourable and Christian way of dying,” Ms Fobo added.
Ms Thabane is expected be laid to rest on Wednesday at Katlehong cemetery as per her request. She had also asked for her funeral service to be held at Mofumahali oa Tlholo church.
“This is what she asked the family to do for her and we can only comply with her request,” Mr Fobo said.
“We will miss her passion for God and love for prayer. She could not start anything without saying a prayer first. She was also a friendly and out-going character who loved music, especially jazz, and played tennis in her heyday.”
“Her favourite player was retired international tennis star Chris Evert Lloyd. She also loved to dress smartly all the time. She loved beautiful things.”
Ms Thabane is survived by six children – four of which were with Dr Thabane – and 12 grandchildren.