Nat Nakasa's remains to be exhumed today

Nakasa’s remains will be exhumed and be repatriated to South Africa for burial.

Anti-apartheid journalist Nat Nakasa. Picture: Dirco.

NEW YORK - The body of Nat Nakasa will be exhumed today in preparation for its repatriation to South Africa this weekend.

The former Drum journalist was buried in New York almost 50 years ago after he left the country on an exit permit during apartheid to take up a Harvard fellowship.

Nakata's sister Gladys says she hasn't been able to sleep because her long held dream of returning her brother home is finally about to happen.

"I pray to God help us. This is a dream come true and it's God who made it happen and made us a witness to it."

She and three other family members, together with Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa will attend a memorial service scheduled for tomorrow.

Nakasa died after falling from a building in New York in an apparent suicide in 1965.

He was forced to leave the country when the nationalist government refused to allow him a passport after he was awarded a Harvard scholarship.

The quest to return the exiled writer's remains to South Africa has been ongoing since his death at the age of 28.

The apartheid government wouldn't allow his body to be returned, and bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of funds have stymied attempts over the years.

He was buried at the city's Ferncliff Cemetery.