I write this with an unbearable pain and disbelief now seemingly resident in my heart. Strangely residing next to this pain and disbelief is a great deal of hope for the future. Yes Clifford Mogomotsi is no longer alive!
But who is Clifford Mogomotsi? To many, a gregarious and celebrated public relations guru in football! To a few, an accomplished human resources director in the diamond world! To his family, Cliff was father, a son, a sibling and a brother.
To colleagues, Cliff was a professional, a true human being by any standards. Clifford was a good, very good man. He was a man of the people. A video of Cliff playing morabaraba has gone viral on social media.
The video shows Clifford hanging out with the proletariat. His people. The so-called regular people at a place that appears to be the Bus Rank or Main Mall. Another video shows Cliff on the day of his untimely death, dancing at the Grand Palm Hotel, full of life and wearing that big, ubiquitous signature smile! His disposition amongst people was quite interesting. Cliff never judged people based on their station in life.
Cliff unlike many of us, never occurred, at least to me, as someone who had been inside the high-hallowed university walls locally, never mind in Europe. Unlike most of us, Cliff hardly exuded anything that resembled his professional background.
Not many people knew he was a human resources director in the diamond circles. I don’t like modesty, but I hate fake modesty. He was a genuine leader who mingled with all football supporters, with everybody.
He was modest, humble and not bothered by the superficial life synonymous with people who hold such powerful positions of limelight and power.
Cliff was a public relations maverick but also a people’s person through and through. His rapport with the media was unrivalled. I do not recall my very first interaction with Cliff.
Cliff was always with Ernest Molome, his closest football friend, colleague and business partner. What I recall though, vividly is my last interaction with Cliff in winter this year. I had visited Lekidi whereat my car died upon exit. Cliff spent a good two hours with me, fixing the car while the people who had converged around the car left one by one.
It is this patience that struck and humbled me. I understood then why he was still hanging on at Centre Chiefs despite the gloom and despondency in which the club swims now. This
Cliff has been there. He won all sorts of silverware with Centre Chiefs in a record never seen before in our football history. This Cliff turned Centre Chiefs from a mere village brand into a national brand now known everywhere in the country.
This he did through his public relations ability, and the natural flair of communication and connectedness he had with both audience and the people he met in the street.
Cliff is one of the many people I had been writing very critical, highly inflammatory articles for over a decade about. But Cliff unlike many, never kept a grudge. He knew I was writing from deep down my heart as I do now. He knew deep down that I was looking for solutions from him for Mochudi Centre Chiefs; the team he led as a team manager, spokesperson and ultimately as vice chairperson.
Cliff’s strength was public relations because he was honest and real. He was not pretentious. Cliff spoke the truth in very collegial ways that more-often-than-not sought to bring about hope where adversity had clearly found refuge. Mochudi Centre Chiefs have a duty to save the club in memory of this great personality.
The football fraternity must never forget this great human being. His passing is a great loss to the family for whom he worked so hard. Bayan Jamali and I would attest that in Cliff we had a great leader, a selfless visionary whose last words to me assured me of the role that the likes of Bayan and I should play going into the future.
Cliff seemed more concerned and/or content about the role that my generation would play when his has departed the stage. For someone who had been writing hard hitting articles about the fight for the soul of Mochudi Centre Chiefs, I was quite awe struck that he always gave me the seemingly indiscriminate and contagious, original Colgate smile he always exuded. This smile, when it visited your eyes, you could tell immediately that he meant what he said. The question is why the good die young?
Rest in Peace & Aluta Continua Clifford Mogomotsi!