Ontlametse Phalatse died at the age of 18. Picture: Oupa Mokoena
Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma is expected to attend the Friday funeral service of brave Ontlametse Phalatse, who lost her battle to progeria, an extremely rare genetic disorder of rapid ageing at a very early age. "

President Jacob Zuma will on Friday attend the funeral service of the late Miss Ontlametse Phalatse, one of two South African teens who lived with progeria ...," the Presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

Progeria is also known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. The 18-year-old passed away last Tuesday at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa after experiencing breathing difficulties. 

Phalatse's doctors did not think she would live to see her 14th birthday, but on March 25 she turned 18 after finishing her matric. Her ambition was to see her family living in a decent house and owning a car. During his 75th birthday celebration a week ago Zuma presented Phalatse's family with a car. 

Last month the President fulfilled the young lady's other wish which was to meet him on her 18th birthday. 

This week on Wednesday, family and friends of Phalatse gathered at Mmanotshe Moduane High School for a memorial service to celebrate her life. 

Despite being aware of her short life expectancy, Phalatse lived life to the full and as a result she inspired many people with terminal illnesses to do the same. 

"Ontlametse will be remembered for her sharp intellect, warm personality, brilliant ideas and her determination to use her condition to motivate others that they can achieve their goals regardless of any challenges," the Presidency said. 

During the memorial service, Johanna Maswanganyi from the Department of Human Settlements said she had visited Phalatse's home a day before she passed away. She said the department will fulfill its promise to build Phalatse's mother a house. 

The Presidency said Zuma also remains committed to fulfilling his undertaking to help the Phalatse family with a house. Phalatse's funeral service will be held on Friday at Stand 696 Motseng Section, Hebron Village from 6:30 – 10am. 

African News Agency