South Africa mourns the death of Ontlametse Phalatse

A woman who captured the hearts of many South Africans for her brave battle against premature aging disorder progeria has died aged 18.

Doctors had said Ontlametse Phalatse would not make it past the age of 14.

President Jacob Zuma was among those who conveyed their condolences to the family of “the special child of South Africa”. She was known as the “First Lady” by her friends and family.

Local broadcaster Enca called her the country’s “champion of positivity”.

In a tribute her family wrote: “We will miss you sorely, Tsontso, our first lady. May you find eternal peace among the angels. Rest in Peace”.

She called herself the first lady because she was the first black woman in South Africa to be diagnosed with progeria.

President Zuma led a minute’s silence for Ms Phalatse on his 75th birthday and said he had planned to give her a car.

“A brave young fighter has fallen. May her spirit inspire all others living with disabilities or facing any difficulty, to soldier on as she did and live life to the fullest. We are really proud of her,” he said in a statement.

Source: Angola Press News Agency