‘Tiny giant’ Ontlametse Phalatse to be laid to rest

President Jacob Zuma will be among the guests who will bid farewell to Ontlametse Phalatse on Friday morning

The service, while will be held in her home town of Hebron, North West, began at 6.30am on Friday.

She died on Tuesday, 11 April, a day before her mother Bella and President Zuma’s 75th birthday. She suffered from progeria, a rare genetic disorder that causes premature ageing.

The 18-year-old had been invited as a special guest to Zuma’s birthday celebrations. On the day she died, she went to town with her mother to see a tailor who was creating her outfit. On their way home, Ontlametse started having trouble breathing and died of lung failure at the Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa that night.

President Zuma presented the family with a car on Wednesday. This had been one of Ontlametse’s wishes. Another wish had been to meet the President, which she did on the eve of her 18th birthday last month.

READ MORE: Ontlametse’s life to be celebrated

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

He said he intended to make good on his undertaking to ensure the Phalatse family got a house.

On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of Hebron residents gathered at the Mmanotshe Moduana High School hall for her memorial service.