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GTF pays tribute to Comrade Roy at state funeral - S Africa

GTF delivers tribute message

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) joined President Jacob Zuba, ministers and senior government officials of South Africa to pay tribute to the late activist and minister, Roy Padayachie, at his state funeral in Durban on Wednesday.

As one of the handful of speakers requested to address the mourners and pay tribute to the late Mr Padayachie, the GTF's spokeperson, Suren Surendiran, shared his memories of Comrade Roy, who he described as a pivotal and inspirational figure to the organisation.

President Jacob Zuma greets Mr Surendiran

Addressing the mourners, Mr Surendiran said,

"let me, on your behalf, salute Comrade Roy, whom I and a large number of Tamil speaking people admire so much, for his leadership, not just in this country, but throughout the Tamil diaspora for laying the foundation for Global Tamil Forum, and for his crucial and catalytic role in bringing the liberation campaign together, with a vision to follow."

"The reward he sought, as he has always said, is not recognition, nor status, nor titles, nor money but that the coming generation – who never even knew him – enjoys a better life, thanks to his courageous work. And I also want to pay my personal tribute, to his work and his leadership in achieving, by his determined action, what many thought was impossible - to internationalise, the Tamil Question."

"I recall, a personal experience, when I, with other Tamil activists came to visit you at your home, with the help of comrade Roy and comrade Sisa Njekalana during the peak of the war in Sri Lanka, back in 2009…at the end of our discussions, you very warmly shook hands with me and said and I quote - “Comrade, please go and tell your fellow comrades, as revolutionaries we will always stand by you

See here for the complete transcript of GTF's tribute address.

See video clips of address broadcast live.

 See GTF tribute message at 01:01:00

South African president, Jacob Zuma pays tribute

The other speakers included the President Jacob Zuma, the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya a senior minister from Kenya and Mr Padayachie's brother-in-law, Mr Solly Pillay.

Widely admired, Mr Padayachie's family were inundated with letters of tributes, including from the Tamil Institute in South Africa, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil Business Forum, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris and Sri Lankan MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardane.

Known as Comrade Roy, Mr Padayachie was the Public Service and Administration Minister of South Africa.

He passed away last week whilst attending the African Peer Review Mechanism meeting in Ethiopia.

Mr Padayachie, a Tamil, was respected by activists worldwide for his tireless efforts to seek justice for those facing oppression.