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Anti-Apartheid activist, poet Don Mattera honoured at a memorial service in Roodepoort

Renowned poet and anti-apartheid activist, Don Mattera has been remembered as a loving father and mentor to young people in the field of art. This was heard at the Roodepoort Theatre on Sunday afternoon during a memorial service organized by the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation.

Mattera was laid to rest at the Heroes Acre in Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Monday night. The journalist, writer, and activist died on Monday at the age of 87. Mattera was buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

Donato Francesco Mattera has been lauded for the impact he made as a prolific poet, a celebrated journalist and one that was dedicated to South Africa’s fight for freedom. Scores of friends, family and colleagues filled the Roodepoort Theatre on Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to the poetic legend. Poet, Lebo Mashile, says Mattera played a major role in her professional career as well as her life, and that he will always be remembered for his loving soul.

“To the Mattera family, thank you so much for sharing your partner, father and grandfather with us. He was a father and mentor to many and I have said many times to his face and others that my existence would be impossible without him. Because of you ntate Mattera we are undaunted, we are unafraid and we walk proudly into spaces where we must speak the truth because we know that blackness is vast and we carry it as a gift that you have given to us,” says Mashile.

Jenny Jafta, from the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation – who has known Mattera for several years – has vowed to keep his legacy alive.

“We will take a portion of don’s legacy in our hearts forever and the foundation has done various work to ensure that his legacy lives on. However, what is it that we ought to do? And this is the challenge I would like to leave with all of us,” says Jafta.

“The challenge is this, by your presence here today you share in this legacy of Don Mattera because he has given us wonderful gifts. He has given us the gifts of compassion, care and love and humanity and kindness and what better way to honour him than by living these gifts as we go forward,” Jafta adds.

Mattera was involved in establishing several literary and cultural organisations, including the African Writers Association, and the Congress of South African Writers.

Remembering late SA poet Don Mattera: Prof Pitika Ntuli 

Gautrain’s partnership with Materra Legacy

Tsepho Gobe of the Gautrain Management Agency says the Gautrain will continue to be the main sponsor of the Don Materra Lecture.

“We as the Gautrain are committed to preserving and upholding your legacy and to that fact we shall continue to be the major sponsor of the Don Mattera Lecture as a founding partner. To the Mattera family, foundation and Elvis in particular, who was always helpful, we as the Gautrain, accept this bid to comfort you in moments of loss and pain. We wish that he in his mercy will sustain you always for those who are blessed are those who mourn for those that shall be comforted,” says Gobe.

The last sonnet written by the legendary poet is titled “The ink is dry and shall forever remain”.

Watch as Mattera is remembered:


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