Mamoepa’s memory now cast in stone
Media centre named after him
THE government communications and information system (GCIS) media centre in Pretoria has been renamed in memory of the late Ronnie Mamoepa.
It will from now be known as Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre after the longest-serving government communicator, who died last weekend.
Making the announcement during a memorial service held by his peers yesterday, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said Mamoepa, who was Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson at the time of his death, may have died but his legacy lives on.
Dlodlo said the communicator lived to serve the people of South Africa. “It is up to us to carry on his legacy by shaping a national identity and consciousness built on mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance,” she said.
“We have a choice: we can either do nothing or hope that someone else will be the change we want to see, or like Ronnie, we can take the proverbial bull by the horns, lead and become the change we want to see.
“We will always remember Ronnie, especially when we walk into the media centre which now bears his name,” she added.
Colleagues, friends, journalists and former bosses were also in attendance to bid farewell to the veteran government communicator and Struggle icon.
Speakers related the professional and personal experiences they shared with the communications doyen, who was described as a gallant freedom fighter, a gentle giant and a humble man.
SA National Editors’ Forum representative Sam Mkokeli said Mamoepa was a humble man and part of special genre of government spokespeople like Themba Maseko and Joel Netshitenzhe.
He said Mamoepa raised the bar in terms of public service.
“Ronnie was not a groupie, his job was not to run behind politicians and shield them from public scrutiny. He never protected corrupt politicians,” he said.
Mkokeli said: “We, from the media, had the opportunity to drink from his well of wisdom.”
Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said he became close to Mamoepa when they both joined the department in 2009.
“It was then the days of ‘horror affairs’ and the most observant among us noted how hard it was to address Ronnie otherwise. It is simply and adoringly, Ronnie as he wanted it to be, not Mr Mamoepa or the DG… He would not accept any title,” Apleni added.
Among the host of speakers was Mamoepa’s younger brother Tshepo, who recalled his sibling’s last moments after he suffered the stroke last month, complications of which led to his death.
He said Mamoepa was a heavy smoker, to the point where his wife had ordered him to brush his teeth before going to bed.
“On that day, he went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, but he never made it back to the bedroom. When his wife went to check on him, she found that he had collapsed.
“Last Saturday, when we went to visit him in hospital, we found that he was bleeding from his ears, nose and mouth, and he died later that night,” he said. Mamoepa was 56. An official memorial service will be held today at the Tshwane Events Centre. He will be given a special provincial official funeral on Saturday at St Alban’s Cathedral in Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma earlier this week ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in Gauteng on the day of the funeral.
HONOURING HIM: Joy Peter pays tribute to the late communications guru, Ronnie Mamoepa.