Former African Union chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has described government communicator and struggle veteran Ronnie Mamoepa as a revolutionary who in death was like a large tree that has fallen.
Speaking at the Mamoepa's official memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, Dlamini-Zuma said she had worked with Mamoepa for over a decade.
"He communicated during difficult times and during happy times," said Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma said happy times included winning the 2010 Soccer World Cup bid and difficult times such as when the two of them had to go to the UN to explain the Thabo Mbeki recall.
Mamoepa was Dlamini-Zuma's also spokesperson during her tenure at home affairs and she said he was not selfish and always helped others.
"He was a beautiful soul and a revolutionary at the end of the day.
"You really served this country well, you were a unifier," said Dlamini-Zuma in bidding farewell to Mamoepa whom she described as not just a colleague but a friend and member of her family.
Mamoepa spent several weeks in hospital after suffering a stroke. He died on Saturday July 22, aged 56 years old.
He first came to prominence as a young teenage activist in the late 70s and 80s and was eventually jailed and served time on Robben Island.
He was a member of the Gauteng legislature before becoming a government communicator for the likes of Dlamini-Zuma and more recently, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
His funeral service will be held at St Alban's Cathedral on Nana Sita Street, in the Pretoria CBD, on Saturday July 29.