The remains of the African National Congress (ANC) stalwart, Stephen Pandula Gawe have arrived at East London airport ahead of his funeral on Saturday in Peelton near Bhisho in the Eastern Cape.
He died three weeks ago while visiting his daughter in the United Kingdom.
He is the child of the late reverend Walker Gawe who was actively involved in the formation of the ANC before it was banned.
Gawe studied at Fort Hare but was arrested for political activities before he could finish his BA honours degree.
He represented the ANC in various international platforms mobilising international solidarity and isolation of the apartheid racist regime.
He was an ambassador to Denmark before his retirement.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared an official special provincial state funeral for the late former ambassador Gawe.
ANC members, friends and family members braved the wet weather to welcome the remains of Pandula Gawe at the East London airport .
His brother Mxolisi says the family is still devastated.
“We are extremely grateful to government for this great gesture because a lot of people are sometimes forgotten as his activities took place many years ago; one would have expected government to forget him.”
ANC veterans have described Gawe as a humble and dedicated ANC member.
ANC veteran Lungelo Dwaba says he hopes that young people will learn from Gawe’s legacy.
“He was a disciplined member of the movement who was passionate about liberation, and young people will learn from his work and take this country forward.”
Gawe will be buried at the Peelton location outside King William’s Town.