HUNDREDS of ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe members gathered at Durban's International Airport at the weekend to welcome the remains of Johnny Makhathini.
Makhathini, former ANC representative at the UN, died in Zambia in 1988.
His remains were exhumed on Saturday by a government delegation led by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.
Makhathini's Jamaican-born wife, Valerie, and his daughter Nandi, who lives in Atlanta, US, were also present.
The South African Police Service performed the guard of honour as MK soldiers carried his coffin from the airport.
Mkhize described Makhathini as a real freedom fighter.
"He played a significant role in making the world know what the apartheid government was doing.
"He was a dedicated freedom fighter who brought liberation to this country. Sadly, he died thousands of kilometres away from his home country," he said.
Mkhize said it was a pity that Makhathini had died just 14 months before the release of former president Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.
His remains will be reburied in Pietermaritzburg's Hero's Acre on Saturday .