Retired academic, philanthropist and community builder Dr Tshililo Alfred Netshiungani Alidzulwi was laid to rest at Makonde village last Saturday. Photo supplied.

A big tree has fallen!


Muri muhulu wo wa (A big tree has fallen). The late Dr Tshililo Alfred Netshiungani Alidzulwi will always be remembered as a pioneer, humanitarian, philanthropist, and community builder who contributed significantly to community upliftment.

During his lifetime, Alidzulwi pioneered the establishment of Makonde Clinic, Raluvhimba High School, Makonde Post Office, Makonde Stadium, Jim Masindi Primary School, and a tar road that connects Makonde and Haluvhimbi villages. These achievements were highlighted during the memorial service held in his honour last Friday at Makonde village.

A retired academic of note, Alidzulwi passed away at the age of 72 at his Makonde home on Saturday, 11 May, following an illness.

The only child of his late parents, Vho Stephans Alidzulwi Netshiungani and Vho Muofhe Alidzulwi Netshiungani, Alidzulwi walked a thorny path to establish himself against all odds. He started his primary education at Makonde Madumbani and proceeded to Thengwe High School, where he dropped out in Form II (now Grade 9) because of poverty. Recognising his above-average intelligence, his former teacher, who had been promoted to principal at Tshivhase High School, traced him and took him to Tshivhase High School, where he completed his Form V (now Grade 12). He studied teaching at the then Venda College of Education (VECO) and started teaching at Mudaswali High School in 1978.

He spent most of his teaching career at Raluvhimba High School, where he taught Afrikaans. He was appointed as an examiner for the Form V final Afrikaans examinations nationally on several occasions. While teaching, he furthered his studies at the University of Venda and Stellenbosch University, where he received various qualifications. At the time of his retirement seven years ago, he was the principal of Dengenya High School in Dzingahe.

Once referred to as the “personal assistant” to the late Amie Chhaya, Alidzulwi was a prominent figure who travelled across Vhembe with Chhaya, drilling boreholes, distributing blankets, clothes, food parcels, and water tanks for the needy. At his church, Makonde Apostolic Unity, Alidzulwi would organise an annual trip to the Kruger National Park, personally paying for the bus, food and drinks, and entrance fees for all the church members.

His leadership skills dated back to when he was the president of the student representative council at VECO. Among other roles, he served as the chairperson of Makonde Sanco, Makonde Clinic Committee, deputy chairperson of the Donald Fraser Hospital Board, secretary of Makonde Royal Council, president of Makonde Young Zebras Football Club, chairperson of the Couples Team Ministries, and an active member of the African National Congress.

When addressing the multitude of guests during the memorial service, Alidzulwi’s best friend, Ntshavheni Ramaofisi, said the death of his friend had robbed the people of Makonde and beyond of a wise man whose wisdom was still needed to build the community. He said he would always cherish the good memories he shared with Alidzulwi, his love of education, and his unending quest for community development, which had made Makonde village what it was.

Representing the family during the funeral service last Saturday, Olga Tambani said although they were mourning, they found comfort from the huge number of people who had been supporting the family since their beloved family member passed on. “The huge turnout for our beloved family member’s funeral is a testimony that he was loved by many. Although he is gone, his legacy will be a reminder that he lived his life to the fullest, touching many lives until his last day on earth.”

Following a session at his home, Alidzulwi was finally laid to rest at his family’s burial site next to Raluvhimba High School in Makonde village. He is survived by his wife, Vho Tshinanne Winnie Alidzulwi, eight children, and 20 grandchildren.



Date:23 May 2024


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