Ron­nie, the con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

DIS­TIN­GUISHED com­mu­ni­ca­tor. Stal­wart of our Strug­gle for lib­er­a­tion. Sea­soned. Con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional. Hum­ble. Bright. Dis­ci­plined. Fear­less. Self­less. Pa­tient. Pas­sion­ate. Gen­tle. Bril­liant po­lit­i­cal mind. Mil­i­tant. Loyal. Ded­i­cated ser­vant of the peo­ple. Or­ganic in­tel­lec­tual. Quin­tes­sen­tial soul. Un­sung hero.

These are some of the words used yes­ter­day to de­scribe Ron­nie Mamoepa, one of the gov­ern­ment’s great­est com­mu­ni­ca­tors and a spokesper­son par ex­cel­lence.

His death, at only 56, marked the end of an era of great spokes­peo­ple and has robbed our coun­try of a self­less pub­lic ser­vant and a man who lived his en­tire life to work for his peo­ple.

A for­mer Robben Is­land po­lit­i­cal pris­oner in the 1980s, Mamoepa was a pro­fes­sional who served our coun­try with dis­tinc­tion as spokesper­son for the Pres­i­dency, some min­istries and for the ANC.

At the time of his death on Satur­day night, he was the spokesper­son for Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, who vis­ited him in hos­pi­tal shortly be­fore he passed away.

He suf­fered a stroke a few weeks ago and had been in hos­pi­tal since. Like the true free­dom fighter he was, Mamoepa fought un­til the end.

Al­ways re­spect­ful and help­ful to the me­dia, Mamoepa com­mu­ni­cated and ar­tic­u­lated the mes­sage of the gov­ern­ment with ded­i­ca­tion and dis­tinc­tion, never al­low­ing his po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions to stand in the way of his work.

Here was a man who knew that he was not the mes­sage.

Some say he was the best spokesper­son the ANC has had since 1994, oth­ers say they don’t make spokes­peo­ple like him any­more and that gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions is poorer with­out him.

Mamoepa was a free­dom fighter who ded­i­cated his life to serv­ing the peo­ple of South Africa, serv­ing un­der­ground for the ANC and pay­ing the price for his ef­forts in the fight against apartheid.

Un­til his death just be­fore mid­night on Satur­day, he re­mained a true pub­lic ser­vant, a role model for many young com­mu­ni­ca­tors not only in the gov­ern­ment, but also in the pri­vate sec­tor and in the me­dia.

Al­ways avail­able to take me­dia en­quiries, Mamoepa was a joy to work with and al­ways put the coun­try first. But that’s not to say he was a pushover. Far from it.

He stood his ground, but re­mained pro­fes­sional and held no grudges.

Even when over­looked sev­eral times for the post of pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son, Mamoepa never al­lowed pol­i­tics to get to him. He served where he was needed and did it with ded­i­ca­tion.

We couldn’t have said it bet­ter than Par­lia­men­tary spokesper­son Moloto Mothapo in a state­ment yes­ter­day: “The loss, so soon, of such a true peo­ple’s ser­vant, a faith­ful, fear­less and un­com­pro­mis­ing ac­tivist for so­cial jus­tice, equal­ity and fair­ness is dev­as­tat­ing.”

We join South Africans in mourn­ing the pass­ing of this gen­tle gi­ant of com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

May his fam­ily find strength at this dif­fi­cult time, and may the work of Mamoepa in­spire those in gov­ern­ment to serve the coun­try bet­ter.

To his wife Au­drey and their chil­dren, thank you for shar­ing Bra Ron­nie with us. We share your loss and mourn with you.

May his soul rest in peace.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.