Cape Town – The memorial service for the Khoi chief, Ockert Lewies (66), who passed away last week after a short battle with cancer, was held at the Castle of Good Hope where a number of friends, family, colleagues and groups paid their last respects.
Lewies’s daughter, Marioline, said the Chief lived a long and fulfilling life with his children, grandchildren and wife Elizabeth Ockert, who also passed away in February this year.
Griqua Royal House head and Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) deputy secretary Aaron Messelaar said the prayer warrior served in the Griqua royal house honourably and was chosen to represent the Khoi-San nation in all interfaith groups across the country.
Gorinhaiqua Cultural Council Head and Western Cape First Nations Collective Chairperson Chief! Garu Zenzile Khoisan said the passing of such an incredible icon and a unifying figure was something they would never be able to take lightly.
“An amazing pillar of the resurgence, which calls for the recognition, restitution and restoration of SA Khoi and San descendants, has fallen,” said Khoisan.
Khoisan said the late chief was incredibly fluent and deeply knowledgeable of their language, indigenous knowledge systems and cultural protocols.
Marioline said the family never really understood how deeply involved Ockert was with the Khoisan tribe until seeing all the support at the memorial.
Bishop Templeton Mbekwa spoke about cherished memories with ‘Oom Ockie’ at the service and said the late chief deserved a sincere send-off, given by ANC metro chairperson Xolani Sotashe and former provincial ANC chairperson Marius Fransman.
Castle Control Board CEO Calvyn Gilfellan said: “Oom Ockert was the life and soul of every Khoi and San revivalist movement. I am very grateful to have crossed paths with him.”
Lewies will be buried on Saturday in his birthplace and where he had lived his last few years, the mission town of Zoar.