JOHANNESBURG, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the Special Official Funeral of South Africa’s late Poet Laureate, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile, here Tuesday.

The special official funeral, as declared by President Jacob Zuma, will take place at Marks Park Sport Club in Emmerentia, Johannesburg, from 9 am and will then proceed to West Park Cemetery for the burial.

In honour of the poet laureate, President Zuma has ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country on the day of the funeral.

Special Funeral Committee spokesperson Mandla Langa said the funeral, which will start at the professor’s home in Diepkloof, Johannesburg, at 7 am, is open to the public.

The renowned professor, who was a veteran activist and a giant of the liberation struggle, passed away on Jan 3, 2018 at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.

Bra Willie, as he was affectionately known, was a recipient of the National Order of Ikamanga for his contribution to the field of literature and was inaugurated in 2006 as South Africa’s second National Poet Laureate.

He taught literature at various institutions across the world such as the University of California in Los Angeles, North Carolina University, State University of New York, University of Denver, University of Nairobi, University of Botswana and the University of Fort Hare.

In the lead up to the funeral, several events were planned to celebrate and honour the late poet laureate and icon.

We are aware of the various events that are organized to celebrate the life of this stalwart in other parts of the country and the world over. We encourage all those concerned to continue celebrating the life of this icon in a dignified manner, befitting an icon of his stature, said Langa.

Condolence books have been made available at the family homes both in Killarney and Diepkloof.

Professor Kgositsile’s memorial service was held on Thursday at the Johannesburg City Hall and in true Kgositsile form, many of the commemorative events included the reading of poetry, jazz music and reflections on society.

Those who knew Kgositsile, 79, personally have described him as a soft-spoken person, who always had a smile on his face. He exuded gentleness and touched the lives of many through his poetry and political activism.