Aids activist Prudence Mabele should have been given state funeral‚ friend believes
While mourners sat in the freezing arena at Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg where they gathered on Wednesday morning to bid farewell to global Aids activist Prudence Mabele‚ two of her friends said she would no have tolerated the cold.
Taking to the podium Mabele's personal doctor and friend‚ Miranda Goma‚ said: "It is cold in here. You want to tell me that a big church like Rhema only has air conditioning and no heaters. No. We are cold‚" Goma said Mabele would have stood up to say so without even greeting people.
Another friend‚ Bev Ditsie‚ echoed Goma's sentiments‚ adding that if Mabele were at the church‚ she would have gone around making noise about it instead of sitting there‚ trying to keep warm.
Mabele who was at the forefront for the fight against a lack of HIV treatment in the country died in hospital on July 10‚ 11 days before her 46th birthday.
"That is the type of person she was. She spoke out‚" said Ditsie.
Goma‚ a doctor at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital‚ told mourners that Mabele's health started deteriorating in November last year and she was hospitalised.
Though she recovered‚ she took ill again this year and was hospitalised again. This time‚ she had a chest infection which over the past few weeks led to both her lungs collapsing just before she died.
"She did not die a lonely death. She had her friends who have been supporting her. We were there via telephone‚ physically and spiritually‚" Goma said‚ adding that though Mabele had been put on life support‚ her health was not improving.
Goma said she was saddened that Mabele was not given a state funeral.
Activists interrupted the service while Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was paying tribute to Mabele and addressing mourners about work that has been done in the fight against HIV and Tuberculosis (TB).
Motsoaledi said the department was introducing National Health Insurance to address issues about health funding.
"It is a revolution Thank you for singing in support of the revolution. It cannot be won by one minister‚" he said to more singing from the activists.
"I want to warn the activists here‚ we have to work hard. The battle is far from over‚" Motsoaledi said.
Activists shouted: "We want more action. We are tired."
A group of activists then left the arena and continued singing slogans outside.
Mabele will be buried at Westpark Cemetery this afternoon.