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Don Mattera laid to rest at Heroes Acre in Westpark Cemetery

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Renowned poet and anti-apartheid activist, Don Mattera, has been laid to rest at the Heroes Acre in Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg.

The journalist, writer, and activist died on Monday at the age of 87.

Mattera was buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

Don Mattera used art to speak to the hearts and minds of the oppressed while standing up to the oppressors.

His sister Gaylina Mattera, says that Don was always the protector.

She says those that abused vulnerable women and children did not escape his razor-sharp tongue: “He took gang members and turned them into sportsmen. Children, women who are abused, that was a soft spot with Don. He believed that the youth could change, against the drugs and addiction. What he always said is that we must give them compassion. Build them up to be better people in society. I will always remember my brother as a hero.”

Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa says Mattera has always used his words as a sword: “His fight for what he believed in using everything available to him. He used to say that his words are a weapon, they hurt. If you look at his work, by and large his words talks to the youth, talks to the children. He was very dedicated in wanting to see children better.”

Bra Don lived his life

Human Rights Activist Sipho Mantula says Mattera was not only a journalist and poet, but a father to many: “Courage, love for children, love for Africa. His legacy not only of journalism , but as a father as well, as an elder in our struggle. I don’t think death has robbed us of him, he was sick at some point. Bra Don lived his life.”

Kevin Martin from the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation – who has known Mattera for 50 years – vowed to keep his legacy alive: “I got to know Don through poetry readings and soon we became family. He saw something in us as youth activists at the time to nurture us. To get involved in the struggle. We have set ourselves the aim to preserve his work. Republishing his work, publishing his current work.”

The poet has written his last sonnet, the ink is dry and shall forever remain.

Mattera now rests among other heroes at Westpark Cemetery.

Source: SABC

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