The “incredible” life of former anti-apartheid activist and veteran media liaison officer Ronnie Mamoepa must be celebrated, the South African Communist Party’s secretary general Blade Nzimande said on Monday.
“Much as it is very sad, we think that we must use this period to celebrate Ronnie’s life. He lived an incredible life … 56 is relatively young. He went to prison very young and has actually done all these things. The last time I met him, he had accompanied the Deputy President [Cyril Ramaphosa] to come and express their condolences at the death of my mother,” Nzimande commented to journalists camped outside Mamoepa’s home in Centurion.
“I had known Ronnie for a very long time. I have known Ronnie from 1992 when I was heading the department of information and publicity. It was during a very difficult time of violence. Ronnie would say you have to stand up and communicate.”
Several government and African National Congress senior officials were streaming into Mamoepa’s Centurion home to express their condolences.
Mamoepa died at the age of 56 late on Saturday night, after suffering a stroke last month.
Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma have both expressed deep sadness at Mamoepa’s death.
Mamoepa, a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, was a highly regarded and well-liked public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and various departments in government with distinction.
In his latest role, since 2014, Mamoepa served as spokesperson for Ramaphosa. “This is a great loss to me personally, to the presidency, and government at large,” Ramaphosa has said.
“However, our thoughts are firstly and foremost with Ronnie’s wife, Audrey, his children, and his siblings. I offer my sincere condolences to Ronnie’s relatives, friends, comrades, and colleagues who have suffered the loss of someone who was much loved and respected across our country and beyond. We shall miss him greatly.”