Message by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini
Zuma at the Funeral of High Commissioner Timothy Karikari Maseko, Johannesburg,
12 January 2007
The Deputy President of ANC,
Comrade Jacob Zuma;
The Treasury General of ANC, Baba Mendi Msimang;
Entire Leadership of ANC and Other Organisations;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
and Members of the Diplomatic Corp;
Director- Generals and Senior Government
Entire ANC Membership;
Colleagues and Friends.
As year 2006 rolled to an end, it took with it the life of Ambassador Timothy
Karikari Maseko, a great South African, a revolutionary, an intellectual and an
He joins our heroes and heroines who passed on at various
stages of our struggle.
He joins the likes of JB Marks, Moses Kotane, Kwame
Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Lilian Ngoyi, Victoria Mxenge, Griffiths Mxenge, Joe
Gqabi, Dulcie September, iNkosi Albert Luthuli, Langalibalele Dube, Jonny Makhathini,
Govan Mbeki, Moses Mabhida, Joe Slovo, Joe Modise, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani, Solomon
Mahlangu, Ambassador Sipho Makana, Ambassador Japhet Ndlovu, Ambassador Bavumile
The list is long but our heroines and heroes are waiting to receive
him across the bridge.
All these extraordinary cadres and human beings will
be waiting for him in the next world.
I think, Ntate Maseko - as a teacher
- will want to continue with teaching and telling them of the advances we have
made in the service of our people.
As the Programme Director said, Maseko
was talking of retiring, but one of the things he spoke to me about, was how he
was wishing to improve and to make a contribution to our diplomatic school.
were hoping therefore, that upon his retirement, he would use some of his spare
time to impart skills to our future diplomats but it was not to be.
I am quite sure that when he arrives on the other side joining our heroes and
heroines he will report to them, as a diplomat and a representative of South Africa,
that the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo have, at long last have closed
a painful chapter of conflict following the murder of Patrice Lumumba and, through
dramatic elections, have declared their commitment to a democratic future.
will also be reporting that Sudan is still facing a crisis of major proportions
but that, South Africa together with the international community, is working hard
to draw Sudan away from the crisis.
He will indeed be able to inform Olof
Palme, the late Swedish Prime Minister whose government was among the first to
support the ANC, that South Africa is not only liberated but is making a meaningful
contribution in the resolution of conflicts and peace building especially on the
Our departed heroines and heroes will be happy to know
that the South African National Defence Force and police are serving as peace
keepers in various missions across the world.
They will be relieved to know
that the our country is no longer unleashing a reign of terror across the continent,
but that we are peace builders.
He will also be able to tell many of those
heroines and heroes that the anti- apartheid activists, the world over who visit
South Africa today, no longer come through Jan Smuts Airport but they come through
Oliver Tambo International Airport.
He will indeed be able to report to
the stalwarts of our movement that the struggle for the emancipation of women
is gathering momentum and that our country's Deputy President is a woman.
I am sure that Comrade OR and others will be happy because they know that South
Africa cannot proudly say it is free until its women are free.
He will be
able to share with all of them, to share with Oliver Tambo, Jonny Makhathini,
Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel and Agostinho Neto that their efforts are bearing
He will be able to report, that he missed by a few minutes the historic
occasion when South Africa took its seat at the United Nations Security Council
as non-permanent member for the first time on the first of January 2007.
of course, he will be telling them that the international community expects South
Africa to make its humble contribution in dealing with difficult issues on the
Security Council agenda.
He will be able with a smile, to say that towards
the end of 2006, just as his life was ending, the great African patriot, Kofi
Annan handed over his responsibilities as UN Secretary General to his successor
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon .
And, of course, we are very pleased that the
new Secretary General has pledged to concentrate on three main issues, international
security, development and human rights amongst others and that Africa will be
Of course, he also has taken the gender issue seriously. Out
of the five new officials that he has appointed, there are three women including
his Deputy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tanzania, Asha-Rose Migiro.
Maseko, being the keen sportsman he was, will be able to report to our heroes
and heroines that an occasion of great historical significance awaits all Africans
when South Africa, the first African country hosts the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
having said that, he will also be able to say that the young people of South Africa
with their horizons broadened more that ever before , have just won an Oscar Award
for their film Tsotsi.
But, he will also say that they are facing challenges.
South Africa and the international community are facing lots of challenges, the
biggest challenge for young people in our country and the world over being HIV
So is unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse. They will however
be informed that South Africa is doing its best to deal with all those challenges.
the international front, he will be able to report that just before the end of
the year, we witnessed a dramatic end of Saddam Hussein in an unsavoury public
execution beamed on television screens the world over.
They will obviously
sit and wonder if that will bring peace and stability in Iraq.
He will also
report that Tito's Yugoslavia continues to disintegrate and that one of the challenges
facing the international agenda today is a question of Kosovo and whether it becomes
independent or not.
He will indeed be reporting that South Africa's economy
is doing well but that we still need to see it being shared and making sure that
the dawn of a better life for all becomes reality.
Comrade Ambassador Maseko,
departs from our midst at the time, as I said at the beginning, when we are re-vitalising
our Diplomatic School.
And as the student from SOMAFCO who spoke earlier
said, we need people like him to turn it around.
Incidentally our ambassadors
are doing their best in that respect and we hope to train more diplomats that
represent South Africa well- as many of our cadres that our heroes and heroines
produced during the struggle, are doing right now - some of them are here and
they are doing us proud all over the world as true South African representatives.
course, some of the qualities that Ntate Maseko had, was to turn demoralisation,
self-pity and frustration into positive inspiration and always reminding us of
the dawn of a new South Africa.
He turned misery and self-pity into hard
work and instilled the notion that you do not become a saint merely by looking
at sacred images.
Of course, Ambassador Maseko will be joining his beloved
As women we appreciate how dedicated Ambassador Maseko was to
his late wife right till the passing hour. He was truly exemplary.
Maseko also will report that our country is at the interesting crossroads with
an imminent change of guard in the ANC which will affect the South African political
As we prepare for National Conference of the ANC, which is something
we do every five years, some are taking the lead from the ANC and are also changing
guard in their small organisations.
Before I conclude let me say that Ntate
Maseko, like Ntate Mhlaba, inspired us. But they also used to embarrass me a lot.
of them used to embarrass me to no end. Because whether it is in the middle of
the night at 2 am, whether we are arriving at their country of accreditation or
just when we are re-fuelling, they would be at the airport to meet us.
sometimes, we will phone and say, "Please don't come. We are just here briefly.
It will be 2 am in the morning. Please, don't come to the airport."
sure as sunrise, they would be there.
And I would say, "Ntate Maseko,
you are my leader and so on. Why do you have to wake up at 2 am when I'm just
transiting?" And I would say the same to Ntate Mhlaba.
And both of
them would say, "Because we are following the Minister of South Africa and
we are the representatives of South Africa, we have to perform our duty. We are
proud of you. We are happy to be here."
I think there is a lot we
can learn from them.
And in his own unassuming manner, he taught us humility,
hard work and unflinching commitment. And he taught us to love other human beings.
of course, at Foreign Affairs, we will miss him.
And I would like to say,
on behalf the President, the government and the people of South Africa; we have
lost a dedicated representative but, at the same time, we should be happy that
we had the opportunity to share his life with him.
We had the opportunity
to share the struggle with him. We had the opportunity to learn from him. We had
the privilege to work with him in government and especially at Foreign Affairs.
of course, as he joins our departed heroes and heroines, he will mobilise their
spirit to guide us as we traverse Year 2007 and prepare for challenges that lie
He will mobilise them to guide us as we prepare to host the Africa
and Diaspora Conference which will be held in South Africa this year. The Conference
will give impetus to the Pan African agenda.
To the Maseko family, we would
like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for having given us Baba
Maseko unbegrudgingly to do the work of Department.
Even as he turned 70,
he was still with us. And we thank you very much for that.
And indeed, we
are also proud of you because we can see that Baba Maseko was not like some parents,
who abdicate their responsibilities in instilling a sense of discipline, work
and responsibility to achieve. He did instil all that to all of you.
Kahle!! Ambassador Maseko. Baba Maseko!! Ulale ngoxolo. Uyilwile impi ende. Uyibekile
Sekuyisikhathi sokuthi uphumule. Nisibheke kubo Baba Tambo,
Luthuli nabo bonke. Ngesikhathi esikusona as we strive to fight against poverty
and to have a better life for every South African.
If I were a good singer,
unfortunately, if there is one thing I cannot do, it is to sing. Ngicela u-Comrade
lo or noma imuphi u-Comrade angiqalele iculo elithi, "uze ulale ngoxolo."