Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, at the Funeral Service for the late Ambssador Sipho Makana, Botswana, 21 February 2004

Director of Ceremonies
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Family members of Ambassador Makana
Your Excellencies
Distinguished Guests
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 a people.

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 freedom.

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 freedom.

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 destination.

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 entrepreneurs.

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 or strength.

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 South Africa.

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

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