PAC struggle stalwarts salute in honour of fallen hero Philip Kgosana, while former President Kgalama Motlanthe, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and about 2 000 mourners look on. Picture: Siphelele Dludla/ANA
Pretoria – Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) stalwart, Philip Ata Kgosana, was hailed as a man of many talents and a generous leader during his funeral service held on Friday at the Tshwane Events Centre.

Thousands of mourners turned up to pay their tributes and bid farewell the struggle stalwart who was inspired by PAC founder, Robert Sobukwe, and participated in the 1960 anti-pass campaign.

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe and Gauteng Premier David Makhura also attended the funeral, which President Jacob Zuma declared a "special official funeral".

Dr Sam Motsunyane, Kgosana's friend in rural development, passed condolences on behalf of the Farmer's Association.

He said Kgosana was passionate about the land. One of Kgosana's friends, Nathaniel Masemola, described him as a kind and generous leader.

"Ata was an exceptional human being, a kind, generous and unassuming leader. He was a tremendous inspiration to our generation and unemotional," Masemola said.

"He achieved a lot academically as well, and got a degree in Economics and Statistics at the University of Haile Selassie in Ethopia and another Economics degree in Uganda, and also a degree in Theology in South Africa."

Kgosana died on April 19, at the age of 80 after a short illness. His eldest son, Mohlabani Kgosana, said he was a man who lived to fight injustice.

"When he saw injustice anywhere, he confronted it. We are at peace because he lived a full life and he has completed his mission," he said.

Kgosana led more than 30 000 anti-pass laws protesters from Langa, Cape Town in a march to the apartheid parliament in the 1960s.

He devoted his entire life to the liberation struggle and served in various leadership roles in the PAC while studying at the University of Cape Town.

Kgosana also worked for the United Nations for 20 years and also served as a councillor in the City of Tshwane representing Winterveldt.

His long-time friend, Lucas Molomo, also described how they had met in 1962 and said Kgosana was the darling of African presidents.

"Ata was the darling of African continent. All Heads of States wanted to meet him. Emperor Haile Selassie invited him for talks in Ethiopia. Julius Nyerere invited him to Tanzania. He also went to London with specific information to inform the United Kingdom and Africa about what was happening in South Africa. Then he went to Ghana," Molomo recalled.

"He was a great patriot, a pan Africanist par excellence. We have lost a fighter, a teacher. We have lost a soldier and a farmer."

Kgosana will be laid to rest at Lady Selbourne Cemetery. He is survived by Alice his wife of 50 years, his sister, five children and eight grandchildren.