Mamoepa’s mem­ory now cast in stone

Me­dia cen­tre named af­ter him

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - VIRGILATTE GWANGWA

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.

PIC­TURE: OUPA MOKOENA

HON­OUR­ING HIM: Joy Peter pays tribute to the late com­mu­ni­ca­tions guru, Ron­nie Mamoepa.

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