President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday sent out a message of condolences following the death of Tanzania’s former president Benjamin William Mkapa, who served from 1995 to 2005.
In a statement, Ramaphosa said Mkapa was a visionary African leader.
“An exceptional peace broker leading several peace mediation processes in Africa. He was a revolutionary at heart and formidable leader championing peace, integration and economic development in East Africa and Southern Africa,” said the South African leader.
Ramaphosa recounted South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela’s words in 1988 when Madiba visited Tanzania: “The struggle for our liberation was one that you made your own, not in any distant way but as freedom fighters sharing the sacrifices and the dangers. You gave us a home away from home when we most needed it.”
Ramaphosa underscored the “important role” played by Mkapa, particularly how he supported and encouraged sanctions against apartheid South Africa for their occupation of Namibia at the United Nations, and on the international stage.
He said the people of South Africa will always have warm recollections of the life of Mkapa, for the role that he played not only in South Africa but also on the African continent in general.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced that Mkapa, 81, died in the early hours of Friday.
Magufuli said Mkapa, the east African nation’s third president who led several regional peace mediation efforts in office and afterwards, died while receiving treatment at a hospital.
In his life, Mkapa mediated peace talks in numerous African countries including Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Burundi and Zimbabwe.