/ 13 November 2008

SA declares official mourning for Makeba

President Kgalema Motlanthe on Wednesday declared a period of national mourning for music legend and anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba.

All national flags will be lowered to half-staff beginning on Thursday, until her funeral and cremation, which has yet to be scheduled, his office said in a statement.

This is in honour of the contribution that Makeba had made to the struggle against apartheid, through her music and ”unwavering” commitment to humanitarian issues.

Meanwhile, Motlanthe reiterated condolences of the government and people of South Africa to the Makeba family, friends and colleagues.

”Her spirit will continue to live on in everyone’s hearts and the world would continue to celebrate and honour her for her significant contribution in making South Africa and the world a better place for all who live in it,” he said.

Makeba’s work for humanity earned her many accolades, such as being appointed the Goodwill Ambassador on behalf of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in 1999.

She was a recipient of a National Order for Meritorious Service in the same year, and numerous other honours were conferred upon her.

Motlanthe expressed hope that her family would draw inspiration from the knowledge that there were many who looked up to Makeba and would pursue her work.

Books of condolences for the public to convey their messages to the bereaved family will be open from Thursday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Tuynhuys in Cape Town. –AFP, Sapa