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

Programme Director

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.

On 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.

Timothy was 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.

His 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.

In 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.

As 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.

What 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 son.

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.

I thank you


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