Eighteen doves and balloons were released at Ontlametse Phalatse’s funeral on Friday.
It was attended by hundreds of people who were touched by her brave struggle against progeria, an extremely rare genetic disorder in which symptoms resembling aspects of ageing are manifested at a very early age.
In 2009, Phalatse was diagnosed with progeria and she was told she would not live beyond the age of 14. She was one of two young South African women living with the condition. Always in high spirits, Phalatse soldiered on until she lost the battle last week on Tuesday at the age of 18.
President Jacob Zuma and North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo were there to pay their last respects.
The huge crowd of people, who descended on Phalatse’s home at Hebron Village, included music celebrities Dr Malinga, Stone Seete and gospel singer Rebecca Malope.
Phalatse’s mom, Bellone Phalatse, dressed in black quietly held her dignity throughout the service. But when the coffin was being lowered into the grave she broke down and had to be comforted by relatives.
A sculpture of Phalatse carved in bronze was placed on her tombstone, which was unveiled immediately after the burial. Spontaneously young and old people began to take selfies next the sculpture.
Phalatse will be remembered for her bravery and high spirits that inspired others living with terminal illnesses.
– African News Agency