Moalosi Jacob Qoopane, best known as “Flaxman” and “the father of literature and arts” in Bloemfontein, is no more. While the details surrounding his death are still sketchy at this point, messages of condolences have been pouring in on social media for this well-respected author, poet and literary activist.
Former editor of Bloemfontein Courant, Maricelle Botha, who used to work with Qoopane who provided the newspaper with articles on a freelance basis, said: “Flaxman was such a generous soul. His passion for the written word could ignite your interest in something you might not know anything about.
“His dedication to literature, and especially South African literature, inspired a lot of young people. May he now wander among other great literary giants as is fit,” says Botha.
Meanwhile, poet, storyteller and artist Charmaine Kolwane-Mrwebi, who was close to Qoopane, said she was saddened by the passing of the writer, which is a great loss to the literary industry in the Free State and South Africa at large.
“He had been selfless in paving the way for writers in Bloemfontein. He is one of the oldest writers who wrote in an era when black people could not publish.
“We have learned from him as writers and will take the literature torch on his behalf and continue to promote our own stories and grow our own literature in his memory,” Kolwane-Mrwebi concluded.
Qoopane, who was only 62 years old when he died, was reportedly ill prior to his death.
The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has also expressed sadness at the passing of Qopane, who was a communications officer at the metro’s office of the city manager.
In a statement issued by municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, it was confirmed that Qoopane passed away on Wednesday, 22 November.
“Details of the memorial and funeral services in remembrance of Flaxman will be communicated later,” the statement read.
Various members of the Bloemfontein community also took to Facebook and Twitter to express their sadness over Qoopane’s death. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Sad to have learned about the death of Mr. Flaxman Qoopane, a religious supporter of our UFS LIS book launch events. We will miss his engagements in the importance of reading. May his dear soul rest in peace.” – Betsy Eister (@eisterkb)
“Rest in Peace legendary Flaxman Qoopane. Greet Shakespeare and Mofolo for me.” Phinithi Ntelekoa (@36ptych)
“Rest in peace Ntate Flaxman Qoopane. Continue storytelling in a higher realm. Feeling sad.” – Pelonomi (@pelo_itumeleng) – Pulane Choane