Minister pays tribute to late ambassador

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Minister in the Presidency, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has paid tribute to the late Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, describing him as larger than life.

“I have said he was larger than life, even in those cold corridors in the United Nations. His belting laughter could be heard across and beyond the walls,” the Minister said.

The Minister on Saturday delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Kumalo who passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday evening, 20 January 2019, at the age of 71.

The Minister said Kumalo had inordinate interpersonal skills and the ability to befriend as well as unite either side of the negotiation table.

“Despite his vast knowledge on several subjects and issues, he was always ready to learn and listen. No time of day was too early or too late, Ambassador Kumalo was always the reassuring voice and counsellor on the other side of the line,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

A Special Official Funeral Category 2, for the late Ambassador Dumisani Khumalo was declared by acting President David Mabuza.

The Special Official Funeral Category 2 entails elements of police ceremonial honours in line with the Presidency’s State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy, for distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa.

Ambassador Kumalo served as South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in New York from 1999 to 2009, a period during which he represented South Africa during its first tenure on the UN Security Council from 2007-2008.

He also served as co-chair for the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council; and was chair at the UN of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Group of 77 plus China.

“Ambassador Kumalo was a citizen of the world and yet he spent most of his time imparting knowledge and inspiring the youth of our nation,” the Minister said.

She said he was also a disciplined cadre who also made gender equality his business, even if it meant diverting from towing the line.

The Minister said he was a strict and uncompromising task master who was a stickler for time and dress code. 

“He was known to seek only high quality from everyone, and once all work and tasks were completed he served the best meals and wine,” the Minister said.

Kumalo’s son, Mandla, said his dad was always an activist and at times he was too generous.

“My father was very strict, he was always about processes and he encouraged me to do well at school,” he said. –