Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, at the Funeral Service for
the late Ambssador Sipho Makana, Botswana, 21 February
Director of Ceremonies
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Family members of Ambassador Makana
Ladies and Gentlemen
Comrades and friends:
Nikolai Ostrovsky in his outstanding book How the Steel
was Tempered makes the following profound observation:
"Man's dearest possession is life. It is given
to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no
torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning
shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying,
he might say: all my life, all my strength were given
to the finest cause in all the world - the fight for
the Liberation of Mankind."
It is this philosophy of life that has enabled freedom-fighters
world-wide to endure great suffering, to remain unflinching
in their resolve, to fight glorious battles and to win
against all odds, not for glory or distinction, but
for the collective liberation of all of mankind.
It is this reason for living that has epitomised the
life of Sipho Sydney Makana, an Ambassador, a Comrade
and a Friend and above everything else, a revolutionary
who used all his strength and the power that life had
given him to work for the liberation of the South African
people, for Africa and the world.
The power that life gave him, Man's dearest possession,
he would share selflessly with others, knowing that
his own happiness was tied to the happiness of his people;
his own wealth was tied to the common wealth of ordinary
people and that his own dreams could only fully blossom
and come true if these were the dreams of a nation and
It is in pursuit of these truths about the nation and
about himself that compelled him to take the path that
he did and enabled him to choose to immerse himself
in the liberation movement.
For Ambassador Makana, the path to freedom - long and
arduous - would take him from his home in the Eastern
Cape to all over the world, to fight the injustices
of apartheid and for the realisation of the dream of
This he did not do for himself but for the millions
of South African people enslaved to a system that denied
them dignity, peace, basic human rights, equality and
From Fort Beaufort to Dar es Salaam, from Morogoro
to Lusaka, no matter how hard and rocky the road might
have been, he made great distances and the distances
travelled contributed to bringing freedom nearer to
the South African people. Every step of the way, together
with our other leaders, he knew that every mile travelled
would bring the South African people nearer to a common
It is because of contributions of people like Ambassador
Makana that we would be able to take those gigantic
steps in 1994 towards peace, freedom and democracy.
It was because of the strength of the intellect of
outstanding thinkers and activists like him that we
were better able to build the foundations for a better
life for all our people.
It was because of the irreversible collective journey
taken by all South Africans that enabled us to consolidate
our gains and through united action for change to bring
hope to millions of our people.
But Ambassador Makana was not only a South African patriot.
He was a true African patriot. He desired for the people
of South Africa what he desired for the people of Africa
as a whole.
He recognised that the struggle for a new Africa must
of necessity restore the dignity and pride of the African
woman, the African man and the African child. This struggle
must give new meaning and shape to an African personality
- a personality rooted in the values, norms and goals
of a better Africa in a better world. An African personality
that belongs, acknowledges and sings of a new Africa
of new times.
He understood that among our biggest hurdles to self-determination
was the poverty of the African people, a poverty that
was not self-imposed but was thrust upon us by centuries
of colonialism and apartheid. Thus, the battle would
be to push back these frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment,
to restore the productivity and creativity to our people's
labours, to build a continent of African pioneers and
He knew fully well that only through ending the marginalisation
of the African continent would Africa be able to take
its rightful, proud and equal place among the nations
of the world.
As Aime Cesaire, that great African poet, said in Return
to My Native Land:
"No race has a monopoly on beauty or intelligence
There is room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory."
Now is the time for Africa to meet with other continents
as equals at the meeting place of conquest with olive
branches and outstretched hands of friendship, confident
of our desires to build a more humane continent and
a people-centred global society.
Ambassador Makana was of the firm view that now is
the time that Africa makes an equal claim to the benefits
that accrue from modern society and the new global economy.
Yet the recognition could not have escaped him that
the success of efforts aimed at the renewal of the continent
lies in Africans themselves forging meaningful and purposeful
partnerships, with themselves first and foremost, if
we hope to bring about a fundamental transformation
in the quality of life of the African people.
As Africans we make bold our commitment that we shall
forge ahead in pursuit of a peaceful, prosperous and
democratic Africa. We are grateful to have been associated
with people of the calibre of Ambassador Makana who
contributed selflessly and singlemindedly to making
our dream of freedom a living reality.
We shall fondly remember him as part of that new generation
of Renaissance men and women who took up the reins of
establishing a positive image, projecting the objectives
of our new country to other nations and imprinting these
principles on the minds and eyes of the world.
We join the entire democratic movement in expresing
our gratitude to the Makana family, wife and children,
for contributing a son, a husband and a father to the
noble cause of freedom.
We share in your pain and sorrow during these difficult
times. Yet we know that you will continue to draw strength
and inspiration from the support of all the people of
Pablo Neruda, must have been writing about you, Comrade
Nkokheli, when he said:
"Here I say goodbye, I'm returning
home, in my dreams
I've wandered the world that I love
But I love even the roots
of my country.
If I had to die a thousand times
I want to die there:
If I had to be born a thousand times
I want to be born there
Let no-one think about me.
Let's think about the whole earth,
pounding with love on the table.
I don't want blood to soak
the bread, the beans, music
again: I want the miner,
the little girl, the lawyer
to accompany me
I don't want to solve anything.
I came here to sing
So that you'd sing with me."
On behalf of President Thabo Mbeki, the government
and people of South Africa, we extend our sincere and
heartfelt condolences to Sennye - the widow, the children,
Nomvuyo, Lulama, Mothusi and the broader Makana family.
Lala Ngoxolo Gatyeni! Aluhlanga lungehlanga!
I thank you.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
21 February 2004