Tribute by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini
Zuma at the Memorial Service of the Late High Commissioner to Austria, Ambassador
Alfred Tokollo Moleah, Pretoria, 6 June 2005
Members of the Moleah family
Colleagues and Comrades
Ladies and Gentlemen:
of the Ministry and Department of Foreign Affairs, we are here to pay tribute
to Ambassador Alfred Moleah, a dedicated husband and a dutiful father, an outstanding
intellectual, a highly sought analyst of international relations, a dear colleague
and a widely-respected diplomat, who was abruptly taken away from us while he
was in the service of our country.
When he joined us as Ambassador to Austria,
he managed to bring together all his previous roles, as he took on the task of
informing the international community about South Africa and conveying our foreign
policy to the world.
He had continued to be an educator, which was his
life-long passion, but now combined this sound intellectual knowledge with political
acumen and practical diplomacy. It was a fitting culmination of a distinguished
career of someone who all through his life had lived to serve his people.
an ambassador he served his country well and his passing away is a tragedy; since
he still had so much to give and to share his expertise and experiences with new
Prior to his acceptance of the post as High Commissioner, Ambassador
Moleah had already had a long and illustrious career as an academic both in exile
in the United States and later in South Africa.
But he was not an ordinary
academic locked up in an ivory tower. For him, scholarship was not simply a way
of earning a living, but a way of transforming society. Education for him was
about the practice of freedom; and as an intellectual he sought to remain true
to the struggle for freedom not only in South Africa but also in the rest of Africa
and the developing world.
He managed to achieve what Paulo Freire has called
"the humanization of the intellectual." He reminds us, in the words
of Richard Schaull (in his introduction to Freire's book):
no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as
an instrument to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the
logic of the present system, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means
by which men and women participate in the transformation of the world."
for Ambassador Moleah, his mission in life was to contribute to how men and women
participate in the transformation of the world. In this way, he had begun through
his work to shape the future - education was no longer simply a means of reproducing
old ideas into a new generation. Education had become a means of achieving justice
and bringing about a more just, more peaceful and more egalitarian world.
understood his role in the same way as Edward Said describes the intellectual
as one of "representing the collective suffering" of our people, "reasserting
its enduring presence" and "reinforcing its memory."
the dark days of apartheid and during his many years in exile, he continued to
keep the dream of a free South Africa burning brightly and at conferences around
the world and on public platforms where he continued to remind the world of the
extent of the suffering of our people and of what needed to be done for South
Africa to be free.
Ambassador Moleah was the kind on intellectual described
by Said when he writes that:
"for the intellectual, " the task"
is explicitly to universalize the crisis, to give great human scope to what a
particular race or nation suffered, to associate that experience with the sufferings
Therefore, not surprisingly, Ambassador Moleah's writings
were not localized or parochial. He wrote books on Namibia, on human rights and
had publications on Pan-Africanism. He made connections between the South African
struggle and that of the Palestinian people.
He inculcated the readers
of his books with a more profound political consciousness of the realities of
the world and a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of one people's
liberation struggle with another. In this way, he also succeeded in fulfilling
the role of making the political more pedagogical and the pedagogical more political.
In him, we have lost a great son of our soil who knew the difficulties
and the possibilities of bringing about Africa's renewal. He knew full well that
we would only make concrete progress if we took the future into our own hands,
both by taking possession of our development agenda and also through finding the
means and resources to get to the desired destination.
All through his
life, he guarded against ill-discipline and laziness and was committed to excellence.
He was a true professional even in his searching for truths about ourselves. He
devoted his energies and intellects to bringing about a better South Africa with
a more productive people committed to change.
We embrace the rich intellectual
legacy he has left us and we shall continue along this collective journey towards
the full attainment of our freedom which he has helped to reveal and to shape.
We wish the Moleah family strength as you come to terms with your loss.
We share your pain at this untimely parting and we truly hope that with
the passing of time you can begin to come to terms with your loss.
you take comfort from the fact that your late husband and father and brother to
us all made an immense contribution to African intellectual life and to projecting
South Africa's image to the world.
We shall all walk tall because we walk
in the footsteps of intellectual giants such as Alfred Moleah.
Moleah lives on in your memory through your recollections of the time that you
spent together as a family. But he will also be remembered in the collective memory
of our nation as a whole.
We honour your husband and father for his contribution
in bringing us so far on this journey.
On behalf of my Ministry and the
Department of Foreign Affairs, I would like to convey our heartfelt condolences
to the Moleah family, especially to Thabisile and to the children, Thandeka, Modise,
Buyelang and Mosupatsela.
As Ambassador Moleah joins the ranks of our departed
warriors, we pledge to continue his good work, to shape the practice of freedom
and to make our shared dreams for the transformation of the world come true.