Trib­utes paid to son of soil Msi­mang

Com­mu­nist Party of Rus­sia mourns loss of com­rade

Sowetan - - News - By Zoë Ma­hopo

Friends and fam­ily of the late ANC stal­wart Mendi Msi­mang gath­ered yesterday at Tur­bine Hall in Jo­han­nes­burg to cel­e­brate his life.

Msi­mang died on Mon­day af­ter a long ill­ness.

The ser­vice was at­tended by ANC big­wigs and union lead­ers, in­clud­ing Mathews Phosa, Kgalema Mot­lanthe and Gaut­eng premier David Makhura.

The venue was dec­o­rated in ANC colours while a pic­ture slide show­ing mo­ments shared be­tween Msi­mang and his fam­ily played out in the back­ground.

Msi­mang’s for­mer PA Gugu Mt­shali, who is mar­ried to Mot­lanthe, de­scribed him as a hard worker and a per­fec­tion­ist.

Msi­mang, a for­mer ANC trea­surer-gen­eral, also served as SA’s high com­mis­sioner in Lon­don from 1995 un­til 1998. He was the wid­ower of the late Manto Tsha­bal­ala-Msi­mang who served as health min­ster.

“He was hands on and cared about peo­ple,” said Mt­shali.

She said Msi­mang was a fa­ther fig­ure to those who worked un­der him.

“Un­cle Mendi and I worked to­gether for 10 beau­ti­ful and fruit­ful years. Dur­ing this time I came to know the man who be­came my hero,” she said.

Mt­shali re­called spe­cial mo­ments, in­clud­ing when Msi­mang gave a heart-warm­ing speech at her wed­ding. Mot­lanthe said SA had lost one of its most dis­tin­guished sons.

He said Msi­mang was among the first lead­ers to leave the coun­try af­ter the ban­ning of the ANC by the apartheid regime.

He de­scribed Msi­mang as a ser­vant of the peo­ple and a thor­oughly re­spectable man.

Tetekin Vi­ach­eslav, who spoke on be­half of the Rus­sian Com­mu­nist Party, said the loss was also felt by the peo­ple of Rus­sia.

“I must tell you that this is not only a loss for South Africans but for his friends in Rus­sia,” Vi­ach­eslav said.

He said Msi­mang helped build the ANC into a strong po­lit­i­cal party, adding that he was mod­est but de­ter­mined in his re­solve to fight for his coun­try’s free­dom.

“He was not only a warm per­son but he pos­sessed a great sense of hu­mour. I would like to thank com­rade Mendi for his com­rade­ship and his con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.”

Cosatu pres­i­dent Zingiswa Losi said Msi­mang was a hum­ble and hu­mane leader.

She said Msi­mang led by ex­am­ple and in­spired many to pur­sue lib­er­a­tion.

“We are in­spired to be as­so­ci­ated with such a leader. This is a leader who was in charge of fi­nances but was never caught in cor­rup­tion.”

Lozi said Msi­mang was one of the lead­ers who de­vel­oped the ANC into an or­gan­i­sa­tion which works for the peo­ple. Msi­mang was born on De­cem­ber 8 1928 in Mar­shall­town, Jo­han­nes­burg. His as­so­ci­a­tion with the ANC be­gan dur­ing the 1940s.

See page 27

/ THU­LANI MBELE

Gugu Mt­shali speak­ing at the me­mo­rial ser­vice of for­mer ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Mendi Msi­mang who died this week at the age of 90.

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