Johannesburg - Friends, fans and family were on Thursday, celebrating the life of veteran activist and poet Professor Keorapetse William Kgositsile at the Johannesburg City Hall.
Speaking on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) Johannesburg Region at the memorial Parks Tau said: “This platform also allows us the opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of the recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver”.
“One is acutely aware that as most of us celebrated the festive season, you as the family and loved ones had to endure the reality of his illness and hospitalisation.”
Kgositsile, a national poet laureate and popularly known by his pen name "Bra Willie", died at age 79 last week after a short illness.
Tau said Kgositsile’s passing was not only a loss to his family and friends, but it was a grief equally shared by the local and international community.
“We will miss his unassuming presence in the halls of academia. We will miss his counsel in matters of government and industry policy concerning the fields of the creative arts. We will miss his baobab-wit in cutting to size those who have forgotten what it means to be a public representative,” said Tau.
“We will miss his epic poetry which is, reasonably so, comparable to the collected works of Pablo Neruda of Chile, of José Martí of Cuba, Leopold Senghor of Senegal, and Aimé Césaire of Martinique.”
Tau said their prayers and gratitude were extended to the Kgositsile family, for sharing their son, father, grandfather, and husband with the nation.
Read more: ANC pays tribute to poet Bra Willie
“To the family and friends of Kgositsile, take comfort in the words of the Roman statesman, Seneca, when he said: “The day which we fear as our last, is but the birthday of eternity,” said Tau.
May his soul rest in eternal peace. And his words live with us forever.
Colleague and a friend Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane said: “Willie was always smart, always interested in reading, always eager to engage people and his irreverence is a part of what would rub some of these 'clevers' the wrong way.
“But there’s nothing they could really do about it, he was loveable as always.”
Matabane said she will always remember Kgositsile’s sense of humour
Among those who attended the memorial former ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete, Ronnie Kasrils, Amina Frense, Pallo Jordan and Poet Mongane Wally Serote.
Kgositsile will be buried next Tuesday at the Heroes Acre at West Park Cemetery.
African News Agency/ANA