Thursday, November 30, 2017


The literary fraternity has been reeling with the recent death of Flaxman Qoopane, a long standing flamboyant journalist, author, poet, and literary activist.

The award winning, incredibly prolific writer, Chief O Bolaji, whilst wrapped in sorrow over Qoopane’s death, briefly went down memory lane this week as he reflected on his close association with the late writer over the decades.  Bolaji said.

"When I first arrived in South Africa over 20 years ago Qoopane was the one who took me under his wing, showing me the ropes as it were. We were so close that many people used to refer to us as twins! Qoopane himself used to say that I was the only real friend he had.

“But this was not strictly true of course, as he was a friendly man, ebullient and effervescent to boot, with so many people he was quite close to. There was the great Gilbert Modise for one; and other people strutting their stuff in arts and culture.

“But it was true that in terns of working together and letting our hairs down too, I was the closest to him,” Bolaji continued. “ Professionally we worked on countless stories, news, articles, features and the like. We wrote for publications like Next, Realtime, Hola, Daily Sun, Mangaung News, Free State News, Kopanang, E and E magazine…

Bolaji laughed lightly, going on:  “You know he (Qoopane) was a born journalist. His glee knew no bounds after his writings came out in any publication – he would issue whoops of delight and canter around like the free spirit he was. He meticulously kept hundreds of stories we wrote over the years; whilst I do not even have just one, myself now!

“As regards relaxation, we did that a lot. He was so generous that whenever any remuneration came in he would insist on buying us drinks first with his own share of the money. We would go to many joints or centres, enjoy beers and fine food (laughing). He has written about this in some of his books like Adventures in Journalism

“We’ll return to the books presently, but I must also stress that he used to be something of a ladies’ man too… as he was so famous,” Bolaji pointed out. “He knew I was very shy but yet he would introduce ladies to me and encourage them to follow me to my place…with that prodding, authoritative baritone voice of his!”

Talking about books, Bolaji stressed: “As for Qoopane’s books, he published over ten of them, more or less all of them important for historical, scholarly, sociological or journalistic reasons. The books included A poet abroad, The Conference, Macufe 2001 and his favourite work, Reneiloe-Mpho’s story which involved his beloved daughter, now a beautiful young woman. I will give you a full list of his books at the end…”

“To be honest, I would need a book to talk about Mr Qoopane, but let me just stress two other things briefly. Firstly at the latter part of his life he was blessed with a wonderful wife, Mme Emily (a writer herself), who gave him much happiness. Secondly, he was a very versatile, finicky, punctilious writer; he published biographies, fiction, criticism, poetry, general works, and lots more. His departure is horrific for arts and culture”

- Feature by Dan Xangaza


A Poet Abroad
Memoirs of a Cultural Activist
Adventures in Journalism
Reneiloe-Mpho's story
Macufe 2001
Women of Talent
Gilbert Modise: the man and the myth
View from my Window
Omoseye Bolaji: Perspectives on his literary work
The Conference
City of Roses and Literary Icons
Scintillating stars from the vibrant soil


TM THIBA said...

It is really sad that The Great One will be rest at his final home tomorrow. He has done a tremendous job while he gasp air in the land of the living one's.

Indeed Mr Bolaji in classic black attaire and Mr Qoopane in fine traditional garment, vividly shows that they have come a long way. It is more hurtful for Mr Bolaji and all of us writers. I believe writers must come together to write a tribute book to the Great One.

Eric said...

Thanks so much, Dr Thiba. Mr Qoopane was exceedingly distinguished

Eric said...

Thanks so much, Dr Thiba. Mr Qoopane was exceedingly distinguished

Leke Giwa said...

Wistful, stirring memories here...two distinguished wordsmiths

Raphael Mokoena said...

I read Mr Qoopane's book, Adventures in Journalism, many years ago; and it was very interesting and unconventional. The author was blunt, even reproducing unflattering letters here and there in the work. Wish I could have read all the other books he wrote, though