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Remarks by Deputy President Paul Mashatile at the official launch of the Ronald "Ronnie" Mamoepa Foundation and wreath-laying ceremony

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Programme Director;
Family Representatives of our beloved late Comrade, friend, and Colleague Ronnie Mamoepa;
Cabinet Minister here present;
ANC Secretary General, Cde. Fikile Mbalula;
ANC Treasurer-General, Cde. Gwen Ramokgopa;
Senior Management of Freedom Park;
Members of the Media,
Ladies Gentlemen;

I am here to honour my friend, comrade, and someone I have worked with for many years, Ronald "Ronnie" Mamoepa.

Allow me to share anecdotes and fond memories with Ronnie. Prior to that, I would like to thank you our Sister, Audrey and your children for agreeing that we share in the collective memory of Ronnie.

Where we are today represents Ronnie in his totality. Ronnie and a great number of other people from our generation, both those who have already passed away and those who are still with us, have committed our lives to serving the people.

When it was not fashionable, Ronnie from the dusty streets of Pheli, joined the movement to fight for freedom. We are indeed today almost 30 years into freedom and democracy and this is because of the sacrifices and contributions of Ronnie and his generation.  
The youth at the time never stood on the side; they, like Ronnie, opposed the apartheid tyranny. Following the slogan of SAYCO, "Victory is Certain - Freedom or Death," he understood that his future and that of his offspring and generations depended on him.

Ronnie is a hero of our struggle!

He is worthy of being commemorated forever.

He was part of a group of people who helped build the ANC in Gauteng, and because of his skills and capacity to communicate effectively, he was able to transcend into government to become one of the best communicators. 

As a matter of fact, it is because of people like Ronnie and Thabo Masebe that today we have the best communication machinery for the government through the Government Communications and Information System.

For them to be memorialised, GCIS, the National School of Government, and Institutions of learning need to add to the curriculum that talks about political communication and institutionalising research to learn their legacy.

In this regard, we take this opportunity to thank the senior management of Freedom Park for hosting this important gathering to commemorate the life and times of Ronnie Mamoepa through the establishment of the foundation.

This commemorative event takes place under the theme, "Re-committing to the legacy of Ronnie Mamoepa through social activism” a clarion call for all our citizens to emulate the undying spirit of selflessness, dedication and humanity (Ubuntu) that Ronnie championed.    

Ronnie, "the griot," was one of the most esteemed struggle heroes, a defender of freedom and democracy, a seasoned government communicator, and a dedicated public servant.
Fellow Compatriots, we are happy that this afternoon, as part of commemorating the life and time of Ronnie Mamoepa, we observe the wreath-laying the ceremony at Hall of Name at Freedom Park, immortalising the name and legacy of this outstanding stalwart amongst the esteemed heroes and heroines who contributed to the liberation struggle, such as Chris Hani, Ruth First, Zachariah Keodirelang "ZK" Matthews, Goven Mbeki, Lilian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke and many others.

We are also pleased that the work of the foundation we are launching is based on the principles that Cde. Ronnie upheld throughout his active life, including addressing socio-economic challenges by promoting equal opportunity in education, the arts, culture, and heritage, and most importantly, freedom of expression.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ronnie was a man of exceptional courage, unwavering determination, and deep compassion. He was a relentless advocate for the rights of the marginalized and oppressed.

His commitment to social change and his passion for justice were infectious, inspiring all those who had the privilege to work alongside him.

Today, as we lay this wreath, we are reminded of the profound impact Ronnie had on the lives of so many.

He boldly spoke out against injustice, stood up against discrimination, and fought for a better, more inclusive society.

His legacy serves as a beacon of hope for those who continue to carry on his work. It reminds us that even in the face of adversity, we must never lose sight of our shared responsibility to create more equitable and just communities.

Ronnie's dedication to the progress of our society was not without sacrifice. He faced countless obstacles, overcame numerous challenges, and endured personal hardship. But through it all, he remained steadfast in his convictions, never backing down from the fight for what he believed in.

Most importantly, he was a tireless leader who lived according to the values of our Constitution.

On this important occasion, we should perhaps ask ourselves this question: How would Ronnie have responded to the current social-political challenges facing our country?

With regard to the movement he really cherished and loved so dearly, will he be pleased with the current political paradigm?

The Ronnie we know will be concerned about the plight of our people.  He would be advocating for unity and accountability.

He would be asking questions about how far we are in dealing with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequalities.   

It is, therefore, pleasing that together, as government, business, and civil society, through this foundation, we are beginning to envision a better future for our country.

In this regard, we commend the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) for honouring this fallen hero and exemplary citizen of our country, by renaming their Press Room – "The Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre".

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since we are all citizens of the same nation, we have an obligation to collaborate in order to solve the issues we face and establish the kind of nation we want for ourselves.

We need to invest all our efforts and energies in deepening our constitutional values to truly achieve a non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society. 

Let us intensify our efforts to bring about a global order in which justice and equality are prioritised above all.

Let us recommit to combating corruption in all of its manifestations across the entire social fabric, including the public and private sectors.

Let us continue to work in harmony to make South Africa a country where people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic standing, enjoy complete human freedom and prosperity.

Let us also be motivated to continue his work and carry the torch to advocate for meaningful change in our communities.

We should all take inspiration from his life and work for a future where everyone's opinion matters, everyone is appreciated, and every life is treated with dignity.

As I conclude, to our Sister Audrey and the children, as well as the rest of the Mamoepa family, please know that you remain in our thoughts.

We will also ensure that the legacy of our brother, friend and Comrade, Ronnie lives on!!!

Thank you.