South Africa: President Ramaphosa Declares Special Official Funeral for Jessie Duarte

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special official funeral Category 2 for the late struggle stalwart and ANC Deputy Secretary General, Yasmin “Jessie” Duarte.

Duarte, who was a committed gender activist and played a vital role in South Africa’s liberation struggle, passed away in the early hours of Sunday, losing her 8-month battle with cancer at the age of 68.

“President Ramaphosa wishes to pass his condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Ambassador Duarte, who dedicated her life to the liberation of South Africa and particularly the emancipation of women,” the Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.

The Presidency said that Ambassador Duarte was a long-time anti-apartheid activist who served as Special Assistant to former President Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart, Walter Sisulu.

In 1994, she was appointed to the Gauteng Provincial Government as a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) responsible for Safety and Security. Between 1999 and 2003, she served as South Africa’s Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique.

Until her untimely passing Ambassador Duarte was serving as Deputy Secretary General of the governing African National Congress (ANC) following her election in 2012, and she was a member of its National Executive Committee, a role she occupied since 1997.

President Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy at the funeral in Johannesburg this afternoon.

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