APA-Pretoria (South Africa) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to American singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte who died two days ago at his New York home.
Belafonte, aged 96, died from congestive heart failure, according to his long-time spokesperson Ken Sunshine.
Ramaphosa said Belafonte was an esteemed member of South Africa’s National Order of the Companion of OR Tambo, one of the annual awards given to nationals and foreigners who have distinguished themselves in the service of the country.
“Harry Belafonte holds a special place in the hearts of South Africans and many around the world for his outstanding talent and warmth of his personality, but also for his stand against apartheid while in the prime of his international career,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
He said the musician was instrumental in sustaining the United Nations-led cultural boycott against apartheid South Africa in the years before the liberation of the country.
“He worked closely with South African artists, including Miriam Makeba, to ensure South Africa’s struggle against apartheid remained in the international spotlight and agenda.”
According to Ramaphosa, Belafonte was an influencer of his time, who spared no energy in supporting the liberation struggle and in campaigning for human rights in many other parts of the world.