Friends to say farewell to Struggle icon Chris Wessels
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Cape Town – Glowing tributes are expected to flow at tomorrow’s funeral of Moravian Church minister and anti-apartheid icon Reverend Chris Wessels.
Wessels, who was born, raised and schooled in the historic mission town of Genadendal before he became a school teacher and subsequently a church pastor, was imprisoned alongside Struggle icons such as Steve Biko and Peter Jones in the 1970s.
He died from illness at his Woodstock home earlier this week, surrounded by his family.
Tomorrow’s service starts at 11am in the local Moravian Church in Genadendal. It will be preceded by a viewing at the church at 10am and a short service at 9.30am at his Genadendal home, according to his son Christopher Wessels and daughter Thandi Wessels.
Christopher said: “Among the speakers will be a close friend, Professor Emeritus Henry ‘Jatti’ Bredenkamp from UWC. He will speak on behalf of the Christelike Studente Vereniging.
“Another to give a tribute will be Professor Barney Pityana. He was imprisoned with my father in the Eastern Cape during the 1970s and was a close friend of the late Steve Biko.
“Another friend of my father who will pay tribute is Nicky Titus, and the service will be led by Brian Abrahams, who was at my father’s house in Port Elizabeth when he was arrested by apartheid security police.”
Thandi said there would also be a eulogy by the president of the Moravian Church in South Africa, Reverend Godfrey Cunningham.
“It’s important to us that our father is going to be laid to rest in a place that is very dear to him. It is also where he retired.
“The church in Genadendal is the first Moravian church established in South Africa and the first mission station established in Southern Africa, in 1937, among the Khoi population. It became a haven for freed slaves after the emancipation of slavery,” she said.