A renowned poet and anti-apartheid activist, Don Matera is remembered as a loving father and mentor to young people in the arts. This was heard at the Roodepoort Theater on Sunday afternoon during a memorial service organized by the Don Mattera Legacy Foundation.
Matera was laid to rest at Heroes Acre Cemetery in Johannesburg on Monday evening. The journalist, writer and activist died on Monday at the age of 87. Matera was buried in accordance with Islamic rites.
Donato Francesco Matera has been lauded for the impact he had as a prolific poet, renowned journalist and man dedicated to South Africa’s freedom struggle. Dozens of friends, family and colleagues packed the Roodepoort Theater on Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to the poetry legend. Poet Lebo Mashile says Matera played an important role in her professional career as well as in her life, and that he will always be remembered for his loving soul.
“To the Matera family, thank you so much for sharing your partner, father and grandfather with us. He was a father and mentor to many and I have said many times to his face and to others that my existence would not be possible without him. Thanks to you being Matera, we are not afraid, we are not afraid and we walk proudly in spaces where we must speak the truth because we know that blackness is vast and we carry it as a gift that you have given us,” Mashile says.
Jenny Jafta of the Don Matera Legacy Foundation, who has known Matera for several years, vowed to keep his legacy alive.
“We will carry a part of Don’s legacy in our hearts forever and the foundation has undertaken various activities to ensure that his legacy lives on.” But what is it that we must do? And that is the challenge I would like to leave to all of us,” says Jafta.
“The challenge is this, by your presence here today you are sharing this legacy of Don Matera because he gave us wonderful gifts. He gave us the gifts of compassion, care and love, humanity and kindness, and what better way to honor him than to live those gifts as we go forward,” adds Jafta.
Matera was involved in the establishment of several literary and cultural organizations, including the Association of African Writers and the Congress of South African Writers.
Gautrain’s partnership with Materra Legacy
Cefo Gobbe of the Gautrain Management Agency says Gautrain will continue to be the main sponsor of Don Matera’s lecture.
“We at Gautrain are committed to preserving and sustaining your legacy and because of this fact we will continue to be the main sponsor of the Don Matera Lecture as a founding partner. To the Matera family, the foundation and Elvis in particular who was always helpful, we at Gautrain accept this offer to comfort you in times of loss and pain. May he in his mercy support you always, for blessed are those who mourn for those who will be comforted,” Gob says.
The last sonnet written by the legendary poet is titled “The ink is dry and will remain forever.”
Watch how Matera is remembered: