Deputy President says final goodbye to his spokesperson

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Molopyane Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Mamoepa was a remarkable person who, more than most, gave real meaning to the expression, Motho ke motho ka batho (A person is what he is because of other people).

This is how Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa described his late spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa during a Special Provincial Official Funeral Service on Saturday.

“His abundant humanity in many ways affirmed and celebrated our shared humanity. Through his vitality, his passion, his essential integrity and his abiding love for his people he reminded us of what it means to be human.

“The way he lived his life and the effect he had on so many of us makes us appreciate the immutable ties that bind one person to another,” Deputy President Ramaphosa said.

Delivering the eulogy during a service held at St Albans Cathedral (Anglican) in Tshwane, the Deputy President said that in Mamoepa they have lost a friend, a colleague, a confidant, a teacher, a mentor, a comforter and a constant presence.

“Mamoepa was a product of our struggle, who was born into a generation that was destined to rise up and challenge the might of a repugnant and reviled system; and to rouse the people of this country to throw off the shackles of oppression and exploitation. His character, his consciousness, his resilience and his capabilities were forged in the crucible of that struggle.”

Outstanding work ethic

The Deputy President also commended Mamoepa’s outstanding work ethic, saying that the depth of his political understanding and his growing talent as a media activist ensured that he would be given ever greater responsibilities for communicating the news and positions of various structures of the mass democratic movement.

“It was in the media team of the National Reception Committee where he proved his mettle as a political communicator. He was among those given the task of presenting to the nation and the world the released giants of our movement - Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi, Wilton Mkwayi, Andrew Mlangeni and Ahmed Kathrada.

“He gave a voice to leaders who had been kept silent for decades. It was this role that prepared him to join, and later head, the ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity. Working at the headquarters of the movement, Mamopepa cemented his reputation as an energetic, capable and resourceful spokesperson. His voice, so recognisable to everyone who knew him, now became known to the nation,” the Deputy President said.

With the advent of democracy, the Deputy President said, Mamoepa applied all that he had learned on Robben Island, and “his experience in organising grassroots structures, the skills he had acquired in the underground, the finesse he had acquired in working at the ANC headquarters to the task of governance”.

Mamoepa was among the first cohort of public servants to serve in the democratic state, and was foremost among those who sought to forge a new ethic that placed the interests, needs and concerns of the people first. He brought to this work his political consciousness and his tireless activism, the Deputy President added.

Paying tribute on behalf of Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said Mamoepa deeply loved his people and cherished their freedom and democracy.

Commit to political and economic freedom

In memory of Mamoepa, MEC Ramokgopa asked the nation to commit itself to political and economic freedom in their lifetime.

“He has now passed the baton, especially to the youth today to build on what we have achieved and to bring in the dream of the African Renaissance,” MEC Ramokgopa said.

She also challenged those in the public service to emulate Mamoepa’s legacy, who used his role as a public servant to unite the people.

Mamoepa passed away on Saturday, 22 July, at a Pretoria hospital. –