Ramaphosa pays trib­ute to Billy Modise

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - Front Page - LILLIAN SELAPISA lil­lians@afro­tone.co.za

BILLY Modise, 87, was an in­ter­na­tion­al­ist who had firm prin­ci­ples which he pre­sented clearly and acted on de­ci­sively, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa said at his fu­neral yes­ter­day.

Ramaphosa said Modise taught peo­ple that hu­man sol­i­dar­ity was uni­ver­sal.

“It mat­tered not where in­jus­tice and suf­fer­ing were to be found, it was equally and al­ways a con­cern to him.

“He felt the same an­guish whether a child died from tear­gas in Gaza or in a pit toi­let in Bizana.

“His prin­ci­ples com­pelled him and us to act to pre­vent such tragedy,” Ramaphosa said.

“His spirit of sol­i­dar­ity required that we do not ac­cept the suf­fer­ing of the Sa­harawi peo­ple in refugee camps any more than we ac­cept fam­i­lies liv­ing in ap­palling con­di­tions on the fringes of our cities.”

The pres­i­dent said Modise car­ried the mes­sage of South Africa’s lib­er­a­tion strug­gle across the world, which found res­o­nance even among peo­ple who were far re­moved in both time and space from the trou­bles and the strug­gles of South African peo­ple.

“It was a mes­sage of hu­man sol­i­dar­ity which de­fied bor­ders and tra­versed oceans. It united the peo­ples of the world in declar­ing apartheid to be a crime against hu­man­ity and re­in­forced their re­solve to strug­gle along­side the peo­ple of South Africa un­til they had won their free­dom,” Ramaphosa said.

Former pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki de­scribed Modise as a pa­triot who held a special place in South Africa’s his­tory. He said for 63 years Modise was a loyal mem­ber and ac­tivist of the ANC.

Modise worked for the UN and later the ANC ap­pointed him as its chief rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Swe­den.

He also served as the first black high com­mis­sioner of South Africa to Swe­den from 1995 up un­til 1999 be­fore he was ap­pointed as the Chief of State Pro­to­col.

Modise died on June 20 af­ter a long ill­ness. He was buried at the West Park Ceme­tery in Jo­han­nes­burg.

PIC­TURE: ROBERTTLAPU

FAREWELL: Thandiwe Modise, the daugh­ter of the late Billy Modise, pays her last re­spects at Marks Park be­fore the fu­neral pro­ceed­ings.

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