Ronnie Mamoepa, a selfless individual

Saturday, July 29, 2017
By: 
Nosihle Shelembe

Late veteran government communicator Ronnie Mamoepa was a selfless individual, not only in the days of the struggle for a democratic South Africa but also as a person, says ANC Gauteng Chairperson Paul Mashatile.

“I am reminded of … [when] he would drive all the way from Attridgeville where he stayed to Alexandra to pick me and Obed Bapela up to work and later he would drop us off in his car,” Mashatile said.

Paying tribute to Mamoepa at the St Albans Cathedral in the Tshwane City centre on Saturday, he expressed how he was still struggling with the sad news of Mamoepa’s passing.

“I have known Ronnie (Morwarre as we would affectionately refer to one another) from 1985 after his release from Robben Island having served five years, his crime being having his undying love for his people and country.

“The first thing that struck me when we first met was his humour and humility. He also reverberated with life and a jolly personality. He would tell jokes and stories that would keep the team together and the morale high,” Mashatile said.

Mamoepa’s humility, respect and love led to a friendship between the two comrades.

Mamoepa passed away on Saturday, 22 July, at a Pretoria hospital. At the time of his death, he was the spokesperson of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Ronnie had a very good relationship with the media – and empowered journalists to know and understand what the issues at hand were. A gentle giant who never resorted to slander, intimidation or insults, he had the skill and flair to painstakingly explain to members of the media what our transformation agenda was all about,” he said.

Mashatile said the people of South Africa country have lost a committed patriot.

“We will rededicate ourselves to the vision that drove Ronnie – the values of humility, selflessness, moral righteousness and service to the people.

“Instead of crying we will find solace in the rich legacy of service to his people, commitment to the cause and humility that he has left. In his honour, let us emulate his example and continue to strive for the ideals that he stood for,” he said.

ANC National Chairperson Baleka Mbethe said Mamoepa always fought for an idea believed in because he knew that ideas have their own directives, they get enriched and better in debates and improve debates.

“He was a communicator par excellence, he believed that information is power when it empowers others. He was a master of choice of words and not insults or verbal abuse. He was forceful and forthright but never rude,” Mbethe said.

She described him as humble cheeky, provocative, a star that amplified the voice of South Africans.  

“He would stand up to speak when many of us choked and stuck to the comfort of our chairs,” she said.

Phil Molefe, who paid tribute on behalf of the media, said Mamoepa came from a very special breed of the media, which was called ‘alternative press’.

The alternative press provided an alternative view from the mainstream media during the 80s.

“Ronnie you have done your part, you served your country with distinction, you served the media very well. Ronnie would convince even the harden editors not only to run a story but to get that story as a lead story,” Molefe said.

He said Mamoepa never took no for an answer.

Molefe worked with Mamoepa when he was a writer during the 80s and he was a sub-editor.

President Jacob Zuma declared a Special Provincial Official Funeral for Mamoepa. –SAnews.gov.za