Nat Nakasa receives hero’s welcome

Nakasa's remains touched down in Durban this afternoon, ending a five decade journey to bring him home.

A coffin with the remains of prolific South African author and journalist Nat Nakasa arrives at Durban's King Shaka International Airport on Tuesday, 19 August 2014. Picture: Sapa.

DURBAN - Renowned anti-apartheid journalist Nat Nakasa has received a long overdue hero's welcome at King Shaka International Airport in Durban.

Nakasa's remains touched down in Durban this afternoon, ending a five decade journey to bring the stalwart home.

The quest to return the exiled writer's remains to South Africa has been ongoing since his death at the age of 28 but bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of funds have stymied attempts over the years.

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 the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University.

Nakasa's flag-draped casket was led by a procession of Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans and police followed closely by his family.

The steady beat of the march ended in a marquee where politicians addressed his family.

Nakasa has been hailed as an unsung soldier who could finally come home.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa led a delegation to New York to escort Nakasa's exhumed body home.

He will be reburied on 13 September in the Heroes' Acre Cemetery in his home town of Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal.