Paying homage to the late former president, Ramaphosa said Mkapa was a visionary African leader and an exceptional peace broker who led several peace mediation processes in Africa.
Ramaphosa said on Saturday: “He was a revolutionary at heart and a formidable leader championing peace, integration and economic development in East Africa and South Africa.”
The president also underscored the important role Mkapa played in supporting and encouraging sanctions against apartheid South Africa for its occupation of Namibia at the United Nations in particular and on the international stage in general.
“The people of South Africa will always have a warm recollection of the life of former President Mkapa, for the role that he played, not only in South Africa, but on the African continent as well,” Ramaphosa said.
In his tribute, Ramaphosa recalled the late South African leader Nelson Mandela’s address to Mkapa during his state visit to Tanzania in 1998: “The struggle of our liberation was one that you made your own. And you gave us a home away from home when we most needed it.”
Mandela’s quotation was referring to Tanzania’s many years of hosting members of the Umkhonto weSizwe, the exiled armed wing of the African National Congress, which had training bases in the East African country.
A former journalist and diplomat, Mkapa, who passed away on Friday at the age of 81, was born on 12 November 1938 in the southern Tanzanian port city of Mtwara.