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Khumalo remembers Dr Seligmann

02 Feb 2023

Renowned medical specialist, Dr Karl Seligmann, who died on January 25, has been described as an individual who was devoted to his career guided by his Christian principles.

Born April 23, 1929 in Eastern Cape, South Africa Dr Seligmann came to Botswana in the early 1950s as a Christian Missionary.

He was a specialist in internal medicine, cardiology and tropical medicine.

Retired pastor Adrian Mpofu Khumalo of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) described Dr Seligmann as devoted and committed to serving the people as he diligently and enthusiastically carried out his assignments either at work or in the committees of the church.

“He loved God and was also philanthropic. He was always donating to people as well as pastors that worked with him,” he said of the fallen nonagenarian.

Pastor Khumalo said despite his background of being a white person from South Africa, a place that was by then led by the apartheid regime that did not value black people, Dr Seligmann was a complete opposite.

He said when the deceased arrived in Botswana and settled in Kanye, the only thing that differentiated him from the community was his skin colour.

Pastor Khumalo noted that  Dr Seligmann gave his children Tswana names with the first born christened Gofamodimo and the other Kebonyemodisa. He reminisced that when Kebonyemodisa got married, his wedding was arranged in a cultural way resembling that of the Bangwaketse and the daughter in law was given a Setswana name; Mokgabo.

“He used to be part of the Dikgafela events at the kgotla, together with his wife dressed like the people of Kanye,” recalled pastor Khumalo. He said even his death was announced to tribal authorities in Kanye.

“He also referred to himself as Kgosi yo rra-Mokowe and also referred to himself as a Mongwaketse,” he said.

Pastor Khumalo said in the past there was a belief that when one gets baptised by the missionary they had to be given an English name to complete their identity as Christians but with Dr Seligmann that was never the case as he respected people for who they were.

Back then, pastor Khumalo said all hospitals and churches were built and ran by missionaries. He said the Kanye SDA hospital was one of the missionary project built around 1894 and when Dr Seligmann came in 1954 he continued with his medical practice while spreading the teachings of God through the SDA church.
He said Dr Seligmann was one of the pioneers of the health sector and Christianity.

Dr Seligmann and his team would traverse the country going as far as Kgalagadi and Ghanzi taking medical services to the people at a time when there were no facilities to render such services in those areas.

As a result of his commitment and devotion to serve he was loved by many and most of patients that flocked Kanye SDA hospital preferred to be attended by him, recalled pastor Khumalo.

He said even at the time when funding from missions overseas was reduced, Dr Seligmann insisted that SDA and other churches must continue contributing towards health.

Even after retiring from the SDA hospital, Pastor Khumalo said, Dr Seligmann continued serving the people through at his private clinic.

“He never gave up, I believe being a Christian and a medical doctor made him what he was, a compassionate and caring person. He knew what he was doing as a doctor and was committed to his work,” he said.

Pastor Khumalo said Dr Seligman was at the forefront of advancing health programmes and Christian teaching especially those aligned to his church.

He said the SDA church used to have Harvest Gathering where they would asks for monetary donations from the business community and that the church  used to get a lot donations because of its association with Dr Seligmann.

“He loved his church and had contributed immensely to its development. The SDA is what it is because of his contribution,” said Pastor Khumalo.

He said Dr Seligmann was a renowned stamp collector and was among other awards given an award for preserving the history of Botswana Post.

“He also in 2008 received the second highest honour in the country being the Presidential Order of Honor.”

He will be buried in Gaborone on Sunday. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Moshe Galeragwe

Location : GABORONE


Date : 02 Feb 2023