Cyril heck­led dur­ing Ma­bele’s fu­neral

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - TANKISO MAKHETHA

DEPUTY Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa was yes­ter­day given a stark re­minder of the Marikana mas­sacre when a small group of mourn­ers at­tend­ing Pru­dence Ma­bele’s fu­neral ser­vice shouted “Re­mem­ber Marikana” be­fore he took to the podium. The group had ear­lier in­ter­rupted Health Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi’s speech be­fore ex­it­ing Rhema Bible Church’s au­di­to­rium in Rand­burg. How­ever, Ramaphosa con­tin­ued, pay­ing trib­ute to the late Aids ac­tivist, say­ing she needed to be re­mem­bered for the work she had done in en­sur­ing that peo­ple liv­ing with HIV had ac­cess to an­tiretro­vi­ral treat­ment. He also said the coun­try was in need of young women to fol­low in Ma­bele’s foot­steps.

Ma­bele was the founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Pos­i­tive Women’s Net­work.

She suc­cumbed to pneu­mo­nia last week in a Joburg hospi­tal. She was thrust into the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion in 1992 when she be­came the first black South African woman to re­veal her HIV-pos­i­tive sta­tus.

“We need young peo­ple who are pas­sion­ate like Pru­dence, who are com­mit­ted and who care deeply about the wel­fare of others, just like Pru­dence did. We need young peo­ple who will still stand up for the rights and dig­nity of the vul­ner­a­ble and marginalised in the coun­try, and young peo­ple who will chal­lenge com­pla­cency and power,” Ramaphosa said.

He told mourn­ers that Ma­bele chal­lenged in­com­pe­tence and ar­ro­gance, and the youth needed to do the same.

“She never stood back from speak­ing truth to power. She spoke of a vi­sion of a South Africa of her dreams. It was a South Africa that had a health­care sys­tem that met the needs of all South Africans, es­pe­cially the poor,” Ramaphosa said.

Ma­bele’s per­sonal doc­tor and friend Mi­randa Goma told mourn­ers that her health be­gan de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in Novem­ber, just be­fore she was hos­pi­talised. De­spite re­cov­er­ing, she con­tracted a chest in­fec­tion this year and was forced back into hospi­tal. Goma said the in­fec­tion led to her lungs col­laps­ing be­fore her death.

“I want to make it clear that Pru did not die a lonely death.

“She had her friends who have been sup­port­ing her via tele­phone, phys­i­cally and spir­i­tu­ally,” Goma said.

PIC­TURE: SIYAB­ULELA DUDA

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa dur­ing the fu­neral ser­vice of Pru­dence Nobantu Ma­bele at the Rhema Bible Church in Rand­burg.

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