The country’s political heavyweights, including the former president, Jacob Zuma and health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, gathered in Maqongqo, outside Pietermaritzburg, to say their final goodbyes to the former member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet, Dr Meshack Radebe on Saturday.
Radebe died in hospital last Saturday at the age of 71.
His inconsolable daughter, Nobuhle, described her father was "a true champion of peace".
"He worked relentlessly to maintain peace in the province," she said during the funeral service.
ANC activist in the Moses Mabhida Region in uMgungundlovu, Siya Hlongwa, said the former MEC for agriculture and social development had a low tolerance for nonsense, which he said Radebe could smell a mile away.
"I got to see both his sides as a comrade and a father in his own home when I was part of the delegation that was sent by the Xabas to negotiate for his daughter's hand in marriage."
Radebe is survived by his wife uMaZondi, eight children, 12 grandchildren, his mother, three brothers and five sisters.
Radebe's son, Mzomuhle, said his father used to talk about his death as if he knew when it would come.
"We learned after his passing that he had been making plans for this very day but kept that from us."
Paying tribute to the man who has stood in his corner on many occasions, former president Jacob Zuma said Radebe was a loyal comrade.
"You didn't doubt him because he didn't hide his feelings and views on issues. He openly shared them regardless of how you felt about his frank honesty because he believed you should know the truth about where he stood."
The pair also worked together during the reconciliation talks between the IFP and ANC whose violent clashes ravaged KwaZulu-Natal in the early 1990s.
Zuma said Radebe showed immense bravery during the Hammersdale peace negotiations when he came under attack, even from his own comrades who accused him of being a sell-out when he called for the violence to stop.
"There are not many that would have stood against that kind of criticism but he did and he was relentless in his work to stop black-on-black violence."