Ontlametse Phalatse was invited to Zuma’s 75th birthday

Ontlametse Phalatse was invited to Zuma's 75th birthday
VERY SPECIAL INDEED: These are the words used by President Jacob Zuma to describe Ontlametse. PICTURE BY Drum.

The President has sent his condolences to the child’s family.

Ontlametse Phalatse would have been at President Jacob Zuma’s birthday celebration today had she lived a bit longer, a spokesman has said.

Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said when Zuma met Ontlametse on 23 March 2017 for her pre-birthday celebration he invited her to his 75th birthday today.

“President Zuma had also invited Ms Phalatse and her mother Ms Bellone Phalatse, with whom the President shares his birthday, to join him in the celebration of his 75th birthday,” Ngqungula said.

Ontlametse turned 18 on 25 March 2017.

Zuma fullfilled her dream of meeting him and bought her a cake and had a private discussion on 23 March 2017 at his official state house in Tshwane.

Ontlametse Phalatse was invited to Zuma's 75th birthday
Ontlametse enjoyed her pre-birthday celebration with President Jacob Zuma. PICTURE: GCIS

She passed away on Tuesday night at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga- Rankuwa, outside Tshwane, of a rare genetic disorder know as Progeria.

Doctors had predicted that she would live until the age of 14.

Ngqulunga said Zuma will also fulfill the child’s dream of helping her mom with a house.

Zuma himself said: “Our lives were most touched by meeting Ontlametse last month”.

“She was very special indeed,” the President said.

“I was impressed by her sharp intellect, warm personality, brilliant ideas and her determination to use her condition to motivate others that they can achieve their goals regardless of any challenges,” Zuma said.

“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. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.

(edited by MLM)

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