The late Zambian soccer star Dennis Lota will be buried here in South Africa at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg, on Wednesday, February 12, 2014.
This came to light today when Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Mr Muyeba Chikonde visited the funeral house to deliver a message of condolences to the Lota family on behalf of government.
Mr Chikonde said every body in government, including Republican President Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, and the general populace in Zambia were deeply saddened at Lota’s passing on.
He announced that that was the reason why the government would be represented by sports minister Mr Chishimba Kambwili at the memorial service tomorrow.
“The President has been consistently requesting for updates over this issue. Even as he was leaving London he called to find out on the status. This shows the importance that government and people of Zambia attach to this funeral,” Mr Chikonde said. “We are deeply saddened at the passing on of Lota. This is the reason why government will be represented by sports minister Chishimba Kambwili, myself and officials from Football Association of Zambia (FAZ).”
Mr Chikonde was informed by Mr Eugen Malao, uncle to late Lota’s widow, Bonita, that the burial ceremony will be preceded by a memorial service to be held tomorrow at Church of Johannesburg Harvest Time Clairmont, from 19:00 hrs to 21:00 hours, to be attended by family members, representatives from the PSL, Moroka Swallows, other dignitaries and mourners, in addition to the delegation from Zambia.
Mr Chikonde urged family members to settle any differences they may have amicably, saying the late Lota was a respected person, a unifier and humble.
He said while government was able to assist in repatriating the body to Zambia, it could not dictate to the Lota family on where his remains should be buried, as government is careful not to overstep its responsibility into the private life of the late soccer star.
During the meeting, a good friend of Lota, John Mphatsoe, bemoaned that Moroka Swallows would not be fully involved in the financial aspect of the funeral, and that it had only been left to individual members to make their contributions.
This prompted Mr Chikonde to announce that the government would look into the issue of purchasing the casket, and government, through FAZ, had also purchased four air tickets for the members of the Lota family to travel to South Africa for the funeral.
The late Lota starred for the Zambia National Soccer Team and several clubs in Zambia, including Nchanga Rangers and Kabwe warriors, before embarking on international stints in Switzerland, and South Africa.
After retiring from international football Lota settled in South Africa, working as assistant coach for Moroka Swallows at the time of his demise.
The late Lota is survived by a wife, Bonita and four children.