Paramedic with a song in his heart

Katleho Mohlabi holding his favourite DVD, The Phantom of the Opera and his Hosanna hymn book. PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

Katleho Mohlabi is not only a paramedic who goes above and beyond for his patients, he also has a passion for classical music accompanied by the talent of signing.

The 27-year-old, who originally hails from Kroonstad, wanted to be a climatologist growing up but misinformation meant he had not made the right subject choices to study it at tertiary. His brother then suggested that instead of sitting at home, he should go to Welkom and attend an ambulance driving course, which led to him to the journey of becoming a paramedic.

“I started volunteering in 2011, and that’s when the passion started building up. There was one time we came across an accident and it really touched me, I was very emotional during this time. I reached out to my manager and he helped me with counselling. The reason why it had such an impact is because in 1993, when I was two, my mother passed away after an accident. And from that day I told myself that I would do whatever I can, especially in life threatening situations, to prevent others from suffering the way I did. And that’s when the love and passion for the job grew,” he explained.

His love for music also grew from an emotional, life changing experience. “I started singing when I was in primary school. The choir was practising a hymn called Ditsiu tsaka di a phalla and the teachers came in to select choir members. It was a new challenge, learning the notes and all but I was enjoying it. This happened in 2014 but unfortunately during this time my father got sick and I stopped attending the rehearsals. A few months later my father died, and to my surprise the very first hymn that I had learnt in the choir was the very hymn sung at his funeral. It broke my heart and I stopped with music completely.”

While in grade 9, two friends and former choir members encouraged him to return to the choir to find his voice again. His passion for it started growing again and in 2007 he started singing solos. He entered competitions and made to the top four. “Although I did not win, I was proud of myself and my achievement,” added Mohlabi.

Having recently become a father, Mohlabi has been focusing on taking care of his wife and daughter while improving his paramedic skills, which does not give him a lot of extra time for his music. However, if you happen to find yourself in his care he might just sing you a song to help put you at ease. – Seithati Semenokane