Official funeral for fearless lawyer who represented Mandela, Kathrada and Mahlangu
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared an official category 2 special provincial funeral for late human rights lawyer and deputy chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Priscilla Jana.
Jana, who passed away aged 76 on Saturday, had also served as an MP and South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands and Ireland.
Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said Ramaphosa had authorised that the national flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the Gauteng Province on the day of her funeral.
“Ambassador Jana was an outstanding and fearless human rights lawyer who devoted her practice to fighting the apartheid regime, defending a broad range of Struggle leaders and asserting the rights of marginalised South Africans,” said Seale.
SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo, said Jana had selflessly represented many political prisoners during the apartheid era, most notably Solomon Mahlangu, who was hanged by the apartheid regime.
“When she opened her own law practice in 1979, it had a specific focus on civil liberties and human rights, thus putting her entire career on the line.
“Priscilla Jana’s role as deputy chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, a position she held until her death, marked a continuation of her passion to ensure the fulfilment of equal rights for all politically, economically and otherwise,” Mashilo said.
He added that the stories of anti-apartheid Struggle heroes have not been chronicled successfully and that in memory of Jana “and all our stalwarts”, the SACP called for a “deepened and targeted narration and recording, as well as publicisation of the lives and works of our stalwarts”.
“In an age when the dumbing down of the sacrifice of our stalwarts to bring about a constitutional democracy, spearheaded by the dominant neo-liberal narrative, is deepening, it is crucial that our government, as well as our revolutionary forces, take the initiative to properly record and publicise our history.
“One of the consequences of the wrong narration of our history is the weakening of class consciousness among the youth of our country, which is already showing its colours in some quarters,” said Mashilo.