25 June 2018
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen;
We meet here today in order to brief you about the preparations of the Memorial and Official Funeral Services of the late Ambassador Billy Modise.
As you aware that the President, His Excellency, President Ramaphosa declared this a Special Official Funeral (category 1) for Ambassador Billy Modise. The preparations for the Memorial and Funeral are as follows:
The Official Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday 26 June 2018, at 11h00 at Oliver Tambo Building, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 460 Soutpansberg Road, Pretoria.
Ambassador Modise will be laid to rest on Thursday, 28 June 2018, at Marks Park Sports Field, across from West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg. The service starts at 09h00. It is open to the members of the public.
All protocols related to Category 1 Official Funeral are being followed.
The flags of the country are currently flying at half-mast in all government buildings and members of the SANDF will honour him with a ceremonial procession.
Ambassador Billy Modise was born in the Free State Province on the 8th of December 1930. He was affectionately known as “Uncle Billy” or “Bra Billy”. He passed away on the 20th of June 2018.
In January 1955 he enrolled at the University of Fort Hare to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree, which he completed in 1959.
He joined the African National Congress (ANC) on the train while en route to Fort Hare. While still a student, he worked very closely with the veterans of the ANC like Professor Z.K. Matthews and Govan Mbeki.
He served the ANC with diligence and commitment while in exile, having left the country in 1960 only to return in 1991. He worked for the United Nations and later the ANC appointed him as its Chief Representative in Sweden.
He was the first black High Commissioner of South Africa to Sweden from 1995 up until 1999. He then was appointed as the Chief of State Protocol.
He will be remembered as a committed activist, humanist, Diplomat, internationalist and public servant who distinguished himself in the service of the people.
We thank South Africans and the international community for their support and messages of comfort to his family and friends.
As we have stated, there are condolence books in all our Embassies abroad, Parliament, DIRCO and Union Buildings.
Phumla Williams, GCIS Acting Director-General
Cell: 083 5010 139
Issued by Government Communication and Information System