THE world has died. That was how speakers described the death of Inkosikazi Nokwanda Matanzima.
Matanzima, wife of Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Abathembu Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, died in a car accident on March 4.
She was travelling from her home in Camata to Bisho, where she was organising the opening of the House of Traditional Leaders.
Her driver was trying to overtake another car when he swerved to avoid a head-on collision with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.
He lost control and was killed instantly.
Matanzima, who had sustained serious injuries, was alive when people arrived at the scene.
She asked them to call her husband but died on the way to hospital.
The funeral was held at Camata township near Mthatha yesterday and was attended by traditional leaders from all over South Africa, former Pan Africanist Congress president Clarence Makwetu, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Brigalia Bam.
Cope MP Mvume Dandala described Matanzima as a hard worker.
"You would never say she was the wife of inkosi - she was always leading from the front and working hard," Dandala said.
Dandala said he had buried the chief's mother and daughter within a year.
Minister of Land Affairs Gugile Nkwinti also paid tribute to the late.
Eastern Cape premier Nokola Kiwiet said Mathanzima had amazing self-confidence.
Kiwiet challenged women in the community to follow in her footsteps as a champion for development and for helping women.
Family spokesperson Fezile Dantile said it was sad that Matanzima had died when SA was in need of leadership and people of her calibre.
More than 2 000 mourners from the Abathembu region and beyond attended the funeral.
Because she died in an accident Matanzima was buried in the early hours of the morning as decreed by tradition.
Her driver will be buried next week. The only survivor of the accident is recovering at home.