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South Africa loses Ontlametse Phalatse, ‘first lady and champion of positivity’

Described as South Africa’s ‘first lady’ and ‘champion of positivity’ Ontlametse Phalatse lived life to the fullest despite suffering from progeria, a rapid old aging disease. In some of her videos on Instagram she can be seen dancing to Nigerian musician, Davido’s Aye. Her death came as a huge shock to the country.



South Africa woke up to the death of Ontlametse Phalatse Ntlami, South Africa’s first black female to be diagnosed with progeria, an aging disease.

Through her Facebook page, the announcement was made:

It is with great sadness to inform you of the passing of our first lady, Ontlametse Ntlami Phalatse. She experienced breathing difficulties yesterday and was rushed to Hebron Clinic, then was referred to Dr George Mkhari. The doctors did everything possible to save her but unfortunately she passed on. She was surrounded by her mother, brother, family members and friends.
The Phalatse family and Ontlametse Phalatse Trust would like to thank the nurses at Hebron Clinic and the Staff at Dr George Mkhari for their compassion and their effort in trying to save her.
Our hearts are filled with pain and sadness but Ontlametse as we know her would want us to carry on with her courageous spirit. We will miss you sorely, Tsontso, our first lady. May you find eternal peace among the angels. Rest in Peace Ntlami.

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Phalatse who just turned 18 on March 25 died on Tuesday night at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa‚ outside Pretoria‚ eNCA reported. On her birthday, she’d met with South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma at his official residence.

Phalatse who referred to herself as ‘the first lady’ after she became the first black child to be diagnosed with the rapid aging disease, was also referred to as ‘the special child of South Africa.’


Jacob Zuma in his condolences to the Phalatse family said, “Our lives were most touched by meeting Ontlametse last month. She was very special indeed. 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. A brave young fighter has fallen.”

Considered a fighter, Phalatse wasn’t expected to live past the age of 14 as predicted by doctors. Phalatse had experienced breathing problems on Tuesday and was rushed to Hebron Clinic before being transferred to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital where she passed away.


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Zuma further said in his statement, “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. We wish to convey our utmost condolences to her mother, her whole family and the Ontlametse Phalatse Trust for this sad loss. May her soul rest in eternal peace.”


The nation of South Africa has come on social media to pour out their condolences to Phalatse whom they saw as a symbol of positivism.