President Jacob Zuma believes media houses in the country have not been doing well in covering human interest stories.
Apparently, Zuma is not a journalist but assuming he’s one, he said he would surely focus on good deeds by good people living in the country – like the neighbour of Ontlametse Phalatse, who first found out that she was a progeria sufferer.
The president lamented that “Z” [Zuma] headlines rather suppress other interesting and positive stories from across the country.
Although he refrained from detailing what he meant, the picture he painted speaks about the recent marches held against him by thousands of South Africans.
“….This [Ontlametse’s] neighbour is a good neighbour … people should take an example from her … If I was a journalist I would focus on human interest stories and stop focusing on headlines which start with the letter Z.”
President Zuma was speaking at Phalatse’s funeral in Hebron, north of Pretoria, where family, friends and community members gathered to pay their last respects to the first lady.
She lost her battle to the rare genetic disorder progeria last Tuesday at the age of 18. The much-loved teen died at Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties.
Zuma, who hosted the teen on March 25 – two days to her 18th birthday – recounted before the crowd how his meeting with Ontlametse went down.
“She told me she wished for two things: to have a car‚ and I said‚ consider it done. Then a house. That too [I said] she should consider done‚ because I had planned to build her house in which she could move in around June this year.
This young lady was talking throughout‚ very articulate and bright. As she took me through what the disease does to the body. I was touched‚ because I had seen her on television and here I am seeing her in person. Why couldn’t she live‚ a double life?”
During Zuma’s 75th birthday celebrations last Wednesday, he presented Phalatse’s family with a car and promised to build a house for her mother and brother.
Doctors had predicted that she would not live beyond the age of 14 but the petite youngster did and even spent an extra four years.
Tebogo Mothoa family – the family friend who realised that Ontlametse had progeria – a rare condition that causes accelerated ageing – was also appreciated by the president for the gesture.
Ontlametse’s funeral was also attended by Premier Supra Mahumapelo along with celebrities like gospel singer Rebecca Malope and musician Stoan Seate.