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‘Don Mattera was a great poet’



Iconic poet and author Don Mattera was remembered as a loving father and mentor to young people in the field of art and poetry.

The 86-year-old died on Monday after being ill for some time.

He was laid to rest the same day in West Park cemetery in accordance with Muslim rites.

ALSO READ: Award-winning poet and anti-apartheid activist Don Mattera has died

A memorial service for the anti-apartheid activist was held at the Roodepoort Theater on Sunday evening, organized by the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation.

Speakers and performers included the minister of relations and cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor, Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse, musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, singer and actress Abigail Kubheka, poet Lebo Mashile and poet and sculptor Pitika Ntuli.

Jenny Jafta of the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation has pledged to keep his legacy alive.

“We will carry a part of Don’s legacy in our hearts forever, and the foundation has done a variety of work to ensure that his legacy lives on. However, what should we do? And this is the challenge I want to leave with all of us.”

“This challenge, because you are present here today, you are connected to this legacy of Don Mattera because he gave us great gifts.

“He gave us the gifts of compassion and care and love and humanity and kindness and what better way to honor him than by wearing these gifts as we go forward,” Jafta said.

Pandor said that Mattera hated dishonesty.

She described Mattera as a ‘significant achiever’, saying the late poet represented South Africa well on the world stage.

“Don Mattera was a man from the beginning, a man born in the struggle, a man of rhythm, a man of words, a man of action, and he was one of our notable achievers. Donato Francesco Mattera, a name with such poetry could only lead to great poetry and symmetry.”

Joburg City Theatre’s artistic director, James Ngcobo, said that Mattera believes in young writers, and to celebrate his legacy, they will be committed to encouraging young people in literature with the Emerging Writers Awards project.

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