Residents of Phokeng, near Rustenburg, in the North West, say the death of Queen Mother Semane Molotlegi of the Royal Bafokeng Nation is a great loss.

The 77-year-old Queen Mother Molotlegi, died over the weekend after a long illness.

Queen Mother Semane Molotlegi is the mother to the current King Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi. She played a pivotal role in helping the Bafokeng Nation to become the model traditional community it is today.

During the then homeland Bophuthatswana government, she stood her ground against the regime when her husband Kgosi Edward Lebone Molotlegi was in exile in Botswana.

She played a role in a number of non-governmental organisations. In showing respect for her, flags at the Royal Bafokeng Nation, are flying at half-mast.

Residents say her passing is a big loss.

“We feel very painful about what happened to our Mamogolo. We do not even know what to say we are not happy at all.”

The Queen’s Executive Personal Assistant, Lorraine Mokhutsane, has described her as a person who made it her aim to change the lives of others.

“She had so much passion for people, so she was really born for this not just only a Queen but her heart was for the people more than anything. So our communities are crying internationally we are crying because lost a mother. We have lost a very strategic thinker, we have lost a leader. It is really sad.”

North West premier Job Mokgoro adds: “We’ve lost a mother, we’ve lost a hard worker. We’ve lost a grass root person. A person who is committed to the development, many of us know that she is not only a mother of Bafokeng but she is the mother to all of us that in terms of her work around the development.”

The funeral arrangements of the late Queen Mother Molotlegi are still to be finalised.