Three memorial services are expected to be held for poet and political activist William Keorapetse Kgositsile, popularly known by his pen name Bra Willie, who died on January 3, the funeral committee said on Monday.
“The events are organised in such a way that we will all have an opportunity to celebrate the life of this great icon who was humble, selfless and dedicated to empowering the mind and imparting knowledge,” said Mandla Langa who is part of the funeral committee.
On Junaury 6, a memorial service was held at the MLA in New York.
“In a true Kgositsile form, many of commemorative events include the reading of poetry, jazz music and reflections on society. This is how Kgositsile would have preferred to be celebrated,” Langa said.
Langa was speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria attended by the Director General of the Department of Arts and culture, Vusumuzi Mkhize and different members of the funeral committee.
In anticipation of many tributes, Langa said the family has made arrangements for everyday between 6pm and 7pm, to hold sessions to celebrate the life of Kgositsile at the family home in Killarney, Johannesburg.
“The Condolence Books will be available from tomorrow (Tuesday) at the family homes both in Killarney and Diepkloof., Further arrangements will be made for the message book to be available at the Market Theatre in Newtown and the City Hall during the memorial services on the 11th and 12 January respectively.”
On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma declared a special official funeral for the late poet. The special official funeral category is for distinguished persons specifically designated by the president.
Zuma has ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country on January 16, the day of the funeral. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the eulogy.
Kgositsile was inaugurated in 2006 as South Africa’s second national poet laureate after the first national poet laureate Mazisi Kunene. He was also a recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga for his contribution to literature.
The upcoming memorial services will be at:
January 10 – The John Nkadimeng Branch will hold memorial service at Houghton Primary School at 5:30pm
January 11- The official memorial service will be held at the Johannesburg City Hall from 12pm to 4pm
January 12- Memorial service at Market Theatre, Newton at 12pm.
Kgositsile will be buried on January 16.
“The funeral service be held at Marks Park in Emmarentia at 9am and will then proceed to West Park cemetery for burial,” Langa said.