Did you know that what was unique about Toastmaster Evelyn’s life was that
she was born in Lesotho the same year as the one in which Toastmasters International was founded – 24th October 1924.
How wonderful!! Toastmaster Evelyn Lebona was affectionately known in the Toastmasters’ fraternity as “Magogo”. This fact made realize why she remained the darling of the Toastmasters community especially the Toastmasters District 74 in Southern Africa. She was a member of Rainbow Toastmasters Club of Maseru in Lesotho.
Her wisdom and never ending love for Toastmasters were always treasured by those who crossed path with her in the Toastmasters’ community and other walks of life. In the past years she played a midwifery role when the Rainbow Toastmasters Club was going a rough patch and on the verge of being declared defunct. She, however, utilized her resources, skills and experience to turn around the fortunes of the Club. Through her effort, the Rainbow Toastmasters Club of Maseru achieved the Select Distinguished Club status.
Her abundance reserve of energy is clearly reflected by the fact that in 2006
aged 82 she chartered the corporate club in Lesotho
that was called Sun International (No. 931940). The chartering of the Club was done at a time when she was at that stage of her life where she was, in terms of the societal expectations, old and could not be expected to play a meaningful role. She defied all odds and brought to life the vibrant Toastmasters’ Club which benefited its members, immensely. However, the Club became defunct following the restructuring exercise that was done at Sun International hotel in Lesotho. That, however, cannot retract the fact that she served humanity by helping the people to discover their voices, develop their communication and leadership skills which in turn boosted their self-confidence and personal growth. By achieving this feat, Toastmaster Evelyn breathed life into a quote by Horace Mann who said
“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity”.
In Africa there is a saying that a death of an elderly is like burning a library. These words ring true with regard to Toastmaster Evelyn. On the 20th July 2018 the mighty cloud befell the Toastmasters’ community as we lost one of the staunchest Toastmasters and one of the best personalities that lived their lives consumed in the care of others. How sad!!. She was 93 years old.
Toastmaster Evelyn’s rich legacy remains indelibly etched in our minds. We remember her for her indefatigable personality, never-say-die attitude, insatiable appetite for knowledge and many other special qualities she espoused during her lifetime.
It is worth noting that the words will never be enough to bring to light all the special qualities that she espoused. However, we derive solace from the fact that she was blessed with longevity. She lived her fulfilled life to the fullest. Like a piano in the orchestra, she left us sweet melodies that will continue linger indefinitely in our ears and minds.
Retsepile Gladwin Ntsihlele, CC