Message by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the Funeral of High Commissioner Timothy Karikari Maseko, Johannesburg, 12 January 2007

Programme Director;
The Deputy President of ANC, Comrade Jacob Zuma;
The Treasury General of ANC, Baba Mendi Msimang;
The Entire Leadership of ANC and Other Organisations;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corp;
Director- Generals and Senior Government Officials;
Entire ANC Membership;
Fellow Mourners;
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 excellent diplomat.

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 Vilakazi.

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.

We 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.

But, 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.

He 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 African continent.

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.

And 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 fruits.

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.

And 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 his priority.

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.

Ambassador 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.

But, 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 and AIDS.

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.

On 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.

Of 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 late wife.

As women we appreciate how dedicated Ambassador Maseko was to his late wife right till the passing hour. He was truly exemplary.

Ambassador 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 landscape.

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.

Both 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.

And 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."

And 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.

And, 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.

And, 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 ahead.

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.

Hamba Kahle!! Ambassador Maseko. Baba Maseko!! Ulale ngoxolo. Uyilwile impi ende. Uyibekile induku ebandla.

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."

Ngiyabonga!!

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