Ontlametse finally laid to rest

Ontlametse's mother Bellon Phalatse with President Jacob Zuma at the funeral.

Hundreds of mourners, including celebrities, assembled at Motseng Section, Hebron Village to pay their last respects to Ontlametse Phalatse on Friday.

The 18-year-old passed away at Dr George Mukhari academic hospital in Ga-Rankuwa last Tuesday, after experiencing breathing difficulties.

Phalatse had been living with a rare genetic condition that causes rapid ageing, called progeria.

Also read: Memorial service will be held for Ontlametse

Speaking during the funeral service, Zuma described Phalatse as brave and courageous.

“She was a go-getter. She had a bucket list of wishes. She wanted to meet the president, she met me; she wanted a car, she got it; she wanted a house for her family, she got it,” said Zuma.

“She touched my heart in a very big way when she came in to meet me.”

Phalatse’s doctors did not think she would live to see her 14th birthday, but on 25 March she turned 18 after finishing matric.

Also read: Ontlametse: a story of life – a journey full of miracles

Her ambition was to see her family living in a decent house and owning a car.

Zuma said he was convinced Phalatse was in a better place now.

“I am certain the gates of heaven opened even before she reached there,” said Zuma.

During his 75th birthday celebrations, Zuma presented Phalatse’s family with a car.

Last month the president fulfilled the young lady’s other wish, which was to meet him on her 18th birthday.

Despite being aware of her short life expectancy, Ontlametse lived life to the full and as a result, she inspired many people with terminal illnesses to do the same.

“Ontlametse will be remembered for her sharp intellect, warm personality, brilliant ideas and her determination to use her condition to motivate others that they can achieve their goals regardless of any challenges,” said Zuma.


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