A Life Dedicated to Liberation and Diplomacy
The official funeral of former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Aziz Goolam Hoosein Pahad, took place at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg. Amidst heartfelt tributes and emotional memories, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a stirring eulogy that celebrated Pahad’s notable achievements and his lasting legacy. The president’s speech expressed deep gratitude for Pahad’s life and work, which exemplified his unwavering commitment to South Africa’s liberation and its people’s welfare.
As an activist, Aziz Pahad played a crucial part in the liberation movement during the 1960s and beyond, working tirelessly in exile. He was instrumental in the anti-apartheid movement in Europe and the United Kingdom, forging dialogue between the exiled African National Congress (ANC) and Afrikaner community representatives in the mid-1980s. Serving as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 2008, Pahad devoted his efforts to representing South Africa on the world stage and nurturing the country’s future diplomats.
In his tribute, President Ramaphosa praised Pahad’s exceptional diplomacy, impressive networking abilities, and warm collegiality. He emphasized the significant contributions Pahad made to peacebuilding and conflict mediation efforts across Africa and the Middle East. Numerous tributes since his passing underscore the enduring impact of Pahad’s work in international relations.
Steadfastness and Selflessness: The Character of a True Leader
Drawing upon the teachings of Islam and the Qur’an, President Ramaphosa invoked the concept of steadfastness to underscore Pahad’s resolute dedication, humility, and quiet strength. Through this lens, the president offered a valuable perspective on the nature of Pahad as a servant leader who consistently prioritized South Africa and its people.
Author of the acclaimed book “Insurgent Diplomat,” Pahad recounted the development of South Africa’s foreign policy and the influential figures who shaped it. His narrative revealed his selflessness and absence of ego, as he refrained from positioning himself at the center of the nation’s democratic history or pursuing fame and fortune.
In recent conversations, Pahad advocated for unity and collaboration across racial, class, and political lines to improve South Africa collectively. He urged citizens of all backgrounds to find common ground and propel the country forward. President Ramaphosa resonated with this message in his eulogy, highlighting the obligations that present and future generations carry in ensuring that the sacrifices made by leaders like Pahad were not in vain.
Upholding Values for a Better South Africa
As the nation grapples with issues such as factionalism, corruption, and public discontent, President Ramaphosa’s speech serves as a timely reminder of the importance of embracing the values of servant leadership, diligence, and self-sacrifice. To genuinely honor Aziz Pahad’s legacy, it is imperative to learn from his example and collaborate in building a stronger nation, guided by democratic principles and social justice.
In conclusion, President Ramaphosa offered his thoughts and prayers to the Pahad family during this challenging time. The memory of Aziz Pahad and his unwavering commitment to South Africa’s liberation and its people’s well-being will continue to inspire current and future generations. His life stands as a testament to the fortitude and resilience that define this remarkable nation.