268 20/06/16 ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte talks to the Media about their decision to appoint Thoko Didiza which was effected after factional battles between supporters of incumbent mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and his deputy chairman in ANC Tshwane Mapiti Matsena. Picture:Nokuthula Mbatha

Hours after her death ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte was buried at the Westpark cemetery in Johannesburg in accordance to Muslim rites of passage.

The struggle stalwart who has been on sick leave for months, died at home in the early hours of Sunday morning after she lost her long battle with cancer at the age of 68.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had on Sunday announced that the state would hold an official and provincial funeral category 2.

Duarte was a long-time anti-apartheid activist who served as Special Assistant to former President Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart Walter Sisulu.

Scores of politicians and business people were present to witness Duarte’s funeral including suspended party secretary-general, Ace Magashule in his personal capacity since he has stepped aside from all ANC activities.Also present was former president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Former president Jacob Zuma sent a message of condolence through his foundation.

Addressing mourners at the funeral in the eulogy Ramaphosa said they were gathering in sorrow and disbelief saying ANC officials had arranged to see Duarte on the day of her death.

He described her as a faithful, dedicated and kind leader who was a dynamite.

Ramaphosa said: “It’s difficult to imagine the ANC without her. It’s unthinkable that we will never hear her voice again.

“She served the people of South Africa with distinction, humility and dedication. That’s why it was easy for me to declare an official funeral.

“Dynamites come in small packages. She was a well packaged revolutionary dynamite.”

He said that throughout her life she was a dynamic organiser.

“She led a powerful women’s movement that challenged oppression of women. Mama Albertina Sisulu taught her that a good leader should be close to the people.

“You would find her with the people often comforting and encouraging them.

“She was a champion of the oppressed everywhere and she had great courage and was in the forefront of fighting apartheid. She has run her race.”

Ramaphosa called on the mourners to strive harder for unity.

“We say hamba kahle Mkhonto wesizwe.”

In a sad letter written by daughter Zoe to her mother days before she died and read by Duarte’s brother Zane before the eulogy, he described the suffering she had to go through when she was alive.

She wrote: “Mom I have been by your side and watched you and helped you day and night with your energy decreasing. You lost weight and you wanted us not to see the pain you were going through.”