UN officials offer condolences on death of African leader Govan Mbeki

30 August 2001

Top United Nations officials today conveyed their condolences to South African President Thabo Mbeki following the death of his father, Govan, who was a leading figure in the African National Congress.

"Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with sadness, learned this morning of the death of Govan Mbeki," Mr. Annan's spokesman said in New York. "He extends to the President and his family, as well as to the people of South Africa, his deepest sympathy and condolences."

In Durban, South Africa, the site of a world forum against racism, Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the meeting, conveyed her sympathies to President Mbeki.

"Govan Mbeki's death on the eve of the World Conference reminds us of his enormous contribution to the struggle against racism and oppression in South Africa," Mrs. Robinson said. "His memory should make us redouble our efforts to achieve in Durban a breakthrough that will ensure a life of dignity, free of bigotry and intolerance, for people around the world."

In honour of Govan Mbeki's memory, the flags at the International Conference Centre in Durban, where the World Conference is being held, are being flown at half-mast.


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