Tower to tower: Trib­ute to Joe Maila

Joe had a big heart and was gen­er­ous to a fault, writes Mole­batsi Masedi

African Times - - Leader - @Mole­batsi Masedi, civil ser­vice cadre in Lim­popo. He writes in his per­sonal stead.

JOE Maila was a rare per­son in post-apartheid South Africa, he was a Black Con­scious­ness is­land in the vast and all con­sum­ing char­ter­ist sea. I placed him in the same What­sApp Group with Ad­vo­cate Mo­janku Gumbi and Dr Mosi­budi Mangena, both who served the demo­cratic gov­ern­ment with loy­alty and dili­gence.

Gumbi was the trusted le­gal ad­vi­sor in the Pres­i­dency dur­ing the ten­ure of Thabo Mbeki. Dr Mangena served var­i­ously as Deputy Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and as Min­is­ter of Science and Tech­nol­ogy.

Their Black Con­scious­ness ide­o­log­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion notwith­stand­ing, they were trusted to de­liver the best in their ar­eas of re­spon­si­bil­ity. That they served the demo­cratic gov­ern­ment eluded many in the ANC and AZAPO their po­lit­i­cal home, it was un­fath­omable.

Maila fol­lowed in their foot­steps in the road less trav­elled. He was good and loyal as his peers Gumbi and Mangena. He cut his gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tion teeth at the De­part­ment of Labour re­gional of­fice in Polok­wane where he ac­quit­ted him­self quite well. His next port of call was the De­part­ment of Safely, Se­cu­rity and Li­ai­son where he was the Me­dia Li­ai­son Of­fi­cer in the Of­fice of the MEC. Then it was the De­part­ment of Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment.

When his prin­ci­pal was de­ployed to the Na­tional Assem­bly he didn’t hang in limbo for long. He reached the pin­na­cle of his ca­reer pro­gres­sion when he joined the Na­tional De­part­ment of Health as the spokesper­son to Min­is­ter Dr Aaron Mot­soaledi. Those who know Dr Mot­soaledi will be aware that he is in his own right, a com­mu­ni­ca­tor par ex­cel­lence. For a per­son with such a gift of the garb, a spokesman would be ren­dered sur­plus to re­quire­ment. Not Maila, he not only sur­vived but tri­umphed too. He be­came as fa­mous as his fa­mous Min­is­ter. Within a short time he mas­tered the com­plex and ex­haus­tive lan­guage of na­tional health. His death is a tragic loss to the na­tion.

Our paths con­verged be­cause of Black Con­scious­ness, his was cur­rent and mine lapsed. As fate would have it, I re­placed him at the De­part­ment of Safety when they moved to the De­part­ment of Health. Gen­er­ous to a fault, he be­queathed me his me­dia con­tacts and strate­gies to ease my en­try into the De­part­ment.

When I was re­cov­er­ing from a heart valve re­place­ment op­er­a­tion in Pre­to­ria in 2014, Joe made time to call on me. He brought me a cur­rent is­sue of Men’s Health to while away time. We spent time talk­ing about our Black Con­scious­ness to which he re­mained loyal to the end. Joe had a big heart, gen­er­ous to a fault. He was also a deeply spir­i­tual per­son, God was the axle on which his world re­volved. His mor­tal jour­ney is ended, leav­ing a huge foot­print to guide us in his ab­sence. He will be sorely missed by all whose lives he touched.

Tower to Tower. This is the Joe Maila I Know. Rest in Power my Tower.

The Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice (GCIS) and the Min­istry of Health will to­day, Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 26, hold a joint me­mo­rial ser­vice in hon­our of the Joe Maila who passed away last Thurs­day, 19 Oc­to­ber.

The me­mo­rial ser­vice will be at­tended by the me­dia, var­i­ous stake­hold­ers from the pri­vate sec­tor and gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tors from three spheres of gov­ern­ment. The mem­bers of the me­dia and gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tors are ex­pected to share mem­o­ries and cel­e­brate the life of Maila.

The me­mo­rial ser­vice will take place at 1035 Tshed­i­mosetso House, Cor­ner Fran­cis Baard and Fes­ti­val Street, Hat­field in Pre­to­ria. It will start at 10am. The Maila fam­ily also held a me­mo­rial ser­vice in Polok­wane yes­ter­day, Wed­nes­day Oc­to­ber 25, at Jack Botes Hall in Polok­wane.

In a state­ment, the fam­ily said: “The fam­ily would once again wish to ex­tend its ap­pre­ci­a­tion and sin­cere grat­i­tude for the sup­port it has re­ceived and con­tinue to re­ceive from Buti Joe’s friends, col­leagues in gov­ern­ment, the me­dia and mem­bers of the pub­lic.”

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