They were dressed in traditional clothing and surrounded the casket while dancing and singing Venda hymns. Spectators were in awe of the culture and called it beautiful.
The impact Mafela had on people’s lives was properly addressed today. South Africans who were not fully aware of his power and accomplishments were surprised when people from neighbouring countries also came to honour the actor’s legacy.
Mafela’s influence was not only substantial but also extensive. The Queen Mother of Swaziland could not attend the funeral but shared a message through her representative. She sent her condolences since Mafela was regarded as part of her family and praised him for his humanitarian efforts in her country.
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa also shared a few words at the funeral. He He recalled how Mafela embarked upon on artistic journey as an actor which paved the way for fellow black actors during apartheid. He went on to describe Mafela’s personality saying “Joe Mafela was generous to the core.”
The procession was expected to proceed to the cemetery just after 12pm but experienced delays of up to an hour. The delay was caused by struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral taking place at the same venue, Westpark Cemetery.