Durban - President Jacob Zuma is expected to attend the reburial service of Nathaniel “Nat” Nakasa.
Durban journalist Nakasa died in exile in New York in 1965 in a suspected suicide.
Mary Papaya, convener for the “Nat Nakasa: Bringing Home a Hero project” said Nakasa would be received “in the most befitting manner possible” and that Zuma had been invited to the reburial.
She said his remains would be kept at a mortuary after they were returned to the country with Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, due to arrive at Durban’s King Shaka International on Tuesday.
A delegation led by Mthethwa and accompanied by the Nakasa family visited the grave in New York and spoke at a memorial service for the icon.
Papaya said returning Nakasa’s remains would go a long way to “entrenching media rights in the country. This is the first time an iconic journalist leader has been brought back home”.
Nakasa is to be buried at Heroes Acre in Chesterville, the township where he grew up.
Lewis Nkosi fellow Drum journalist and Nieman scholar also hails from the township.
The acre has been set aside by the municipality for people who have made a valuable contribution to society.
Former South African Press ombudsman Joe Thloloe, who is now the director in the Press Council, said Nakasa “lived in a twilight world where people from different racial groups stayed together”.
The veteran journalist recalled that Nakasa defied the apartheid system in his own unique way.
“We thought he was acting as if he was a white person. But, in fact, his lifestyle was a rebellious one. When the apartheid government said do not live in a white suburb he went and lived in a white suburb. When the government said do not love across the colour line he went and loved across the colour line.”
Thloloe said when they learnt that Nakasa had died they were very angry: “We were very angry that such a young and talented man should die in such a way,” he said.
Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng described Nakasa’s return as a homecoming. He said: “We know and understand the suffering he went through during apartheid… This is an opportunity for the Nakasa family to get closure on the issue.”