The African National Congress has learnt with deep sadness of the passing of one of its most distinguished stalwarts and diplomat extraordinaire, Comrade Billy Modise at the age of 87, following a long illness.
Comrade Modise joined the ANC in 1955 following his inspired meeting with Cdes ZK Matthews and Govan Mbeki at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. Elected as the ANC Youth League Secretary then as SRC secretary, he later became an executive member of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).
He went into exile in Sweden to circumvent detection by the security forces of the apartheid regime. While there, he continued his medical studies at Lund University and lobbied other student formations against Apartheid which he extended to other Nordic countries as founding member of the South African Committee.
Comrade Modise started working for the United Nations in 1975 in various roles for 13 years until his deployment as a distinguished Ambassador, initially to Sweden as a Chief Representative then later as the first black High Commissioner to Canada in Canada in 1995. He also served the South African government as Chief State Protocol Officer from 1999 to 2006.
Following his illustrious service to our country in various capacities, Comrade Modise was awarded the Order of Luthuli for his outstanding contribution to the liberation of South Africa and ensuring democracy is achieved.
The African National Congress extends is heartfelt condolences to the Modise family, fellow comrades and friends.
Issued by the African National Congress