Zwelakhe ‘embodied Sisulu legacy’

2012-10-13 11:36

Former journalist Zwelakhe Sisulu embodied the qualities of his family, his brother and Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu has said.

“He was calm and courageous, funny and warm, strong and loving,” Sisulu said at Zwelakhe’s funeral in Randburg, Johannesburg today.

Sisulu said Zwelakhe had “embodied the legacy of our parents” as well as being “the product of our struggle”.

During his remarks Sisulu was overcome with emotion and a family member had to help him complete his prepared speech.

He noted that Zwelakhe was his younger brother and “was supposed to follow protocol and not jump the queue.”

This was a testament to Zwelakhe, who preferred to do things his own way, said Sisulu.

Zwelakhe’s funeral service was held in the memorial hall that bears the name of his father, Walter Sisulu.

It was attended by several political and media heavyweights, including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and former president Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel.

Zwelakhe at age 61 died in his sleep in his Johannesburg home last Thursday.

In the 1980s Zwelakhe emerged as a champion of alternative media and freedom of expression and, as a result, was harassed and imprisoned.

He founded and became editor of The New Nation, which provided a platform for the liberation and mass democratic movements.

Zwelakhe was arrested and detained for lengthy periods without trial during the apartheid era. His harassment prompted international media organisations to call for his release.

He was also the founding leader of union the Media Workers’ Association of SA. In 1994, Zwelakhe became group CEO of the SABC.

He also served as a media officer for former president Nelson Mandela.

He is survived by his wife Zodwa, daughter Zoya, sons Moyikwa and Ziyeka, and granddaughter Lilitha.

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