Alex Boraine, the late former vice-chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was on Thursday fondly remembered for his energy, determination and vision for a better country.
Friends, family and public figures packed the Christ Church in Constantia, Cape Town, on Thursday afternoon to pay their last respects.
Boraine died at the age of 87 in his home in a retirement village in Constantia, last Wednesday.
His son, Jeremy Boraine, said at the time that his father had been in remission from cancer but had a recent decline in health.
"He had a fall a week ago and stopped eating. He just became weaker and weaker."
Those in attendance at the service included former TRC chairperson Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, GOOD leader Patricia de Lille and former Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele.
SA owes him 'a great debt of gratitude'
Tutu noted: "It would have been fitting for our president to give Alex an official funeral. I am sad that this has not happened.
"Our country owes Alex a great debt of gratitude for the outstanding work he did as vice-chair of the TRC."
Tutu said it was thanks to Boraine's planning that the TRC got off the ground. He also thanked Boraine's family for their support as he sacrificed his time and effort for reconciliation.
Boraine is most famous for proposing the TRC and being its vice-chair alongside Tutu from 1996 to 1998.
He was also the co-founder of the Institute of Democracy in South Africa along with Fredrick van Zyl Slabbert.
He is survived by his wife Jennifer Boraine, his four children Andrew, Kathryn, Jeremy and Nicholas, their spouses, and seven grandchildren.
His family members took turns at the service reading his two chosen bible passages, singing a song for him and paying tribute.
They thanked everyone for their attendance, comfort and support.
"We acknowledge the many hundreds of messages of support received from fellow South Africans and from friends all over the world," they said in his memorial pamphlet.
Anyone who would like to share an anecdote, memory, photograph or voice note for the family's living archive on Boraine, can send their contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org
Memorial pamphlet with Alex Boraine, his family and snapshots in time