We are deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague, Khotso Moleko, who passed away on 30 April 2019. Khotso was an activist and advocate for the transformation of our profession; and was unwavering in his belief that this could be achieved.
Born 21 May 1954 in White City Soweto, a three-year-old Moleko moved to Ghana in the care of the late Professor Simon McDover Lekhela and his wife Sarah Lekhela and three years later to the newly independent Nigeria. The family moved to Nigeria shortly after the declaration of Independence in 1960 but in 1962 were forced to move again when it was discovered Moleko suffered from hearing loss. This time the family would travel to the UK for medical treatment.
Moleko would finally return to South Africa in 1971. In search of employment in 1975, he was accepted by JC Leaderach at Building Design Group Architects in Lesotho as an apprentice for the study of Architecture. In 1978 he was accepted to study Architecture at Natal University, and was a resident at the Alan Taylor Residence for Black students enrolled at University of Natal Medical School and Howard College. During this period he received partial grant funding from SAIA with the help of the Registrar, Martin Knoetze. His involvement in the Black Students Society led to his studies being interrupted, and on his return to Lesotho, Moleko continued working at the firm Building design group Lesotho, which then became Design Group Lesotho. On its closure, he joined Househam, McPherson and Henderson Architects.
Moleko returned to Howard College in 1987 and continued his architectural studies, finally completing the Post Graduate Diploma in 1991. On graduation, he moved to Windhoek, Namibia and was in the employment of Paul Behrend's & Associates as a professional Architect until 1995. During this period Moleko was invited to assist Dr Jaco Wasserfal in the preliminary discussion towards the establishment of an Architecture School in Namibia.
In 1996 he joined the National Department of Public Works under Minister Jeff Radebe as Chief Director for Architectural Services. During this period, under the direction of the Deputy Director General Sivi Gounden, he participated in the forum reviewing the functions of the statutory Built Environments Council and the eventual formation of the Council for the Built Environment (CBE).
In 1997 Moleko opted to return to the private sector and was employed as a Director with RFB Consulting Architects. In 2000 Moleko finally started his own firm- KM Architects. In 2003 he was elected to the position of Vice President, Region South of the African Union of Architects, with the blessing of the sitting President of SAIA, Patricia (Trish) Emmett, serving two terms until 2009. During this period, Moleko would visit all constituent member States of Region South and their Committees, except for St Helena, and participated on behalf of the AUA and SAIA in some of the activities of the International Union of Architects (UIA).
Khotso Moleko was passionate about the transformation of the profession and mentoring young talent on the continent. He was one of the longest standing members of GIFA and his contribution to the profession has been immense. He will be missed. We send our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.