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A fitting Memorial Service for the late poet, orator and author Dr Don Mattera.

Tributes have been paid to the late poet Dr Don Mattera at a memorial service held at the Roodepoort Theatre in Johannesburg on Sunday 24th July 2022. The renowned author and poet died at the age of 87 on Monday, 18 July.

Several tributes were made for the legacy that Mattera leaves behind. The Joburg City Theatre has also made a commitment to continue his legacy. The theatre has pledged to honour Don with an Emerging Writers Awards project with the Artistic Director James Ngcobo saying, “Mattera said it was important that the poet’s legacy live on in the lives of young writers and aspiring poets”.

There were several performers and speakers at the memorial who paid tribute to Mattera, including International Relations and Co-operation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor, Johannesburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse, musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, poet Lebo Mashile and poet and sculptor Prof Pitika Ntuli, Prof Anton Haber and longtime friend of Mattera and Black Consciences comrade Dr Saths Cooper.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also paid tribute to Mattera in the wake of his death: “As a nation, we are saddened by the loss of Don Mattera’s eloquent, rousing and revolutionary voice for justice.” Filmmaker, lecturer and Vice Chairperson of the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation, Dr Teddy Mattera said this of his father: “He illuminated my pathway as a creative person.”

Tributes from journalists, historians, politicians, doctors and lawyers – people from a cross section of society and who don’t readily identify as creative – echoed his sentiments. This is the enduring greatness of Don Mattera: what he did for people. He was, in the traditional sense an African poet, the centre of social life. Although Don was entertaining, he was far more than an entertainer; as a spokesman for the poor and marginalised his reach was wider than an activist’s. He was never a public representative, and yet he represented people. He was an outsider to the intellectual establishment, a passionate voice in the wilderness.

The Don Mattera Legacy Foundation expressed it’s sincere condolences to the family of their patron, a father, a son of the soil, a husband, grandfather and great grandfather and commits to continuing the preservation of his literary legacy.

Pic- A packed Roodepoort Theatre where Dr Don Mattera's memorial was held.


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