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Ontlametse Phalatse remembered as loving, independent teen

The 18-year-old's friends and family were speaking at her memorial in a packed school hall in Hebron North West on Wednesday.

Ontlametse Phalatse was one of the two South African young women living with Progeria. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Speakers at the memorial of the late Ontlametse Phalatse all described her as one who towered above her disease.

The 18-year-old's friends and family were speaking at her memorial service in a packed school hall in Hebron North West on Wednesday.

Phalatse, who was born with progeria, passed away last week at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital after experiencing respiratory problems.

Her high school councillor Tanya Dawar shared her first experience meeting Phalatse.

“I thought to myself ‘Wow this is one fiercely independent little girl’, and although she is tiny she didn’t want to be treated in any different way.

Phalatse's former school principal Glen Howard says he has learned a lot from the teenager.

“She reminded us that despite life’s obstacles and hardships there is always room for happiness. I felt always that Ontla was the teacher and I was the learner.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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