Speech delivered by Minister Zola Skweyiya, Acting Minister
of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Social Development during the Memorial Service
of the Late Ambassador Timothy Karikari Maseko, Pretoria 10 January 2007
Members of the Maseko Family
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although this is indeed for all of us a very sad occasion,
we are not only here to bid farewell to our dear friend, colleague and a comrade,
Tim, but also to celebrate a life well lived and an astonishing service he gave
to his country.
Timothy Maseko significantly contributed to the establishment
of a new democratic South Africa. Like many of his friends, colleagues and comrades,
he made a lot of sacrifices to achieve the freedom and democracy enjoyed in the
country which some people take it for granted. We have lost a great man and a
true compatriot who devoted his entire life to his country and its citizens.
behalf of President Thabo Mbeki, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini
Zuma and the entire Department of Foreign Affairs and Government, we wish to convey
our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Timothy.
selfless and active in serving his country until his last days of his life. When
he left Windhoek on 13 December 2006 until his untimely death on 31 December 2006,
he was already not well, but made it a point that he left a well functioning High
Commission in Namibia as mandated by our government. His commitment to the cause
and to South Africa was absolute. Regardless of his ill-health, he fully executed
his responsibilities as our representative in Namibia, by receiving President
Thabo Mbeki in Windhoek in November 2006 and played a pivotal role in ensuring
that the President's visit was a success, it was.
Timothy worked hard to
achieve his goals in life. He studied hard and through sheer determination and
effort, obtained a BSc Degree at the University of Rhodes in 1961. An MSc at UNISA
soon followed. He never rested and in 1999, when he was already well advanced
in years, obtained a Diploma in Local Government through Damelin College in Johannesburg.
career with the Department of Foreign Affairs speaks volume of absolute dedication.
To prepare for this task, he attended the Babelsberg Foreign Relations Institute,
in Germany in 1989 and in 1993, attended a course in Diplomatic Training at Clingendael
Foreign Relations Institute in The Hague, Netherlands. Still not satisfied, he
continued his diplomatic training in the same year at the Norwegian Ministry of
Foreign Relations and Co-operation. In 1994, he completed a Special Diplomatic
Course at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria.
During this time,
he was also the ANC's Permanent Representative in Denmark. From 1978 to 1989 he
was a Permanent member of the ANC Education Council abroad and from 1980 to 1985,
was the Director of the ANC's Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in Mazimbu, Tanzania.
He managed the college with dedication and contributed significantly to the crop
of our young leaders who now hold important positions across the three tiers of
our government and in private sector.
Timothy Karikari Maseko joined the
Department of Foreign Affairs in 1994. In February 1995, he was appointed by former
President Mandela as the South African Ambassador to Bulgaria and also non-resident
Ambassador to Yugoslavia and non-resident Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
October 1998, he became High Commissioner to Ghana and in December 2000 Ambassador
to Chile. In August 2004, Timothy was appointed High Commissioner to Namibia,
which was to be his last assignment.
We celebrate a dedicated life of Timothy
expressed by his family, a life that has reverberated throughout the government's
Public Service, a life dedicated to his people, a life dedicated to South Africa.
we have witnessed, Timothy was ever active and also attended various international
conferences and seminars in Germany, Holland, Senegal, Cuba, Mozambique, Denmark,
Iceland, Norway, etc. In 1981, he attended the UNESCO General Assembly in Geneva
and in 1986 visited some USA universities. From 1981 until 1988, he attended the
Annual UNDP meetings in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and in 1994 attended the briefing
meetings of the TEC Sub-Council on Foreign Affairs in Paris and Brussels.
greater sacrifice can a man make than serving his country - in far-away places,
away from his family and friends cannot be equated to anything except selflessness.
We must therefore thank you - his family and friends - for lending us Timothy
Maseko, and allowing us to use him to promote South Africa's interests. But not
only that, the privilege to have known him as a friend and colleague; to have
learnt from him; to have absorbed his wisdom, which he acquired over the years.
His passing away will leave a void in our hearts. South Africa has lost a great
Timothy Maseko will not be forgotten. Death has robbed his children
and grand- children, comrades, friends and colleagues of a selfless, dedicated
and humble father and leader. He will live in the hearts of all the many people
he has come into contact with during his life-time.
To the Maseko family,
relatives and friends, we are aware that Timothy was dear to you all and nothing
will replace him, we have no doubt in our minds that you will find solace to his
dedicated contribution to a better South Africa for All. We believe that Timothy
died a happy man as he lived to see a liberated and democratic South Africa to
which he dedicated his entire life.
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE
I thank you