President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a Special Provincial Funeral Category Two for veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni for her outstanding work in Arts and Culture in South Africa.

This was revealed by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane when he visited Nkonyeni’s family home in New Brighton in Port Elizabeth.

Nkonyeni served the arts industry for more than 50 years.

Two memorial services will be held on Wednesday to celebrate the life of the veteran actress. One will take place at Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton in Port Elizabeth and the other at Market Theatre in Newtown in Johannesburg.

Nkonyeni died in Port Elizabeth last week after a short illness, aged 77.

Premier Mabuyane says the late actress deserves a dignified send-off.

“She has played quite a huge significant role in social cohesion. We really appreciate (it) and are hugely indebted to people of her calibre and the role that she has played under very difficult conditions, sometimes using art to communicate a message and also to fight the injustice of the then government of the day. So, that kind of a risk and not only just acting, but risks that carried because South Africa has been a country of struggle. So, she has been that kind of a person and as government, we saw the need to intervene.”

Family Spokesperson Vusikhaya Mancapa says the family has welcomed the declaration.

“We welcome government’s intervention. This is great honour for the family. At least, she was awarded by the president. This is great stuff for us at this difficult time, but we are grateful for what government has done.”