The Charges d’Affaires of the Saharawi Embassy in South Africa, Louali Moussa Zaoui, emphasized that the late Saharawi Ambassador to South Africa, Bachir Radhi, was a feverous Pan-Africanist and fighter for Saharawi freedom and independence, in a speech he gave Monday morning during an official Memorial organized today by the South African Ministry for External Relations in tribute to the late Ambassador.
Presenting a brief account about the Saharawi Ambassador, who passed away last Wednesday, Louali Moussa, recalled that Bachir was “a great son of Africa, who worked all his life in the shadow, far from any personal ambitions, to defend the rights of his African nation, its right to freedom and its right to live sovereign over its land. He died while believing that Western Sahara will get its independence sooner or later because the Saharawi people have spoken he used to say since the 1970s.”
Here is the full text of the Speech:
“H.E. Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of External Relations and Cooperation
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen
I stand today in front of you to mourn my Ambassador and a comrade in the freedom-fight for the liberation of the last colony in Africa. A man that was for me, and for many, a live memory and an eye-witness on historical events that characterized the conflict in Western Sahara because he was one of those founders of the Saharawi liberation movement, who assumed important responsibilities in defense of his people since his young age.
The late Bachir Radhi was a brilliant university graduate in mathematics back in 1970. He was one of the first Saharawi University graduates in 1974 and he could have pursued his studies back then to become one of thousands brilliant African scientists if he so wanted. But, he chose to abandon all those personal individual dreams and embraced the cause of his people, having secretly been involved since the early 1970s in the activities of the Polisario Front.
In 1973, while still student in the University of Oran in Algeria, he was chosen by his comrades to secretly distribute the first Communiqué issued by Polisario in May 10th 1973 to declare the constitution of the Saharawi liberation movement. And he did it in the early morning visiting each and every Foreign Embassy in Algiers secretly under the risk to be arrested since then the Algerian authorities didn’t know yet about the birth of the Saharawi liberation movement.
That was one of his first missions, briefly followed with many others he conducted successfully under the direct orders of the Secretary General and Founder of the Polsiario, Martyr Mustapha Sayed.
And in 1975, when the Polisario ordered him to give up his studies and join the diplomatic corps as Polisario’s representative in France, he immediately executed the order and suffered all sorts of troubles, persecution and harassment by the Moroccans and the French authorities, which didn’t allow him to freely do his job. Yet, he did it. And that was the first post in the Saharawi diplomacy he was in charge of, followed by similar posts in New York, Washington, Berlin, Scandinavian countries, at the Saharawi Presidency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a member of the Saharawi negotiating team since the early 1990s and finally in South Africa.
During his tenor in New York and the UN, Bachir was not only working for his country and the Saharawi cause, he was also closely coordinating and collaborating with all African freedom-fighters representing their respective struggles in the UN. He was therefore closely working with ANC, SWAPO, FRILEMO, FRITILIN of East Timor, ZANU-PF and many others. Bachir has always been a feverous Pan-Africanist and has never given up the fight for the freedom of his country or Africa until the last days of his life.
This is a brief account of the man we are honoring Today in this Memorial Service, a great son of Africa, who worked all his life in the shadow, far from any personal ambitions, to defend the rights of his African nation, its right to freedom and its right to live sovereign over its land. He died while believing that Western Sahara will get its independence sooner or later because the Saharawi people have spoken he used to say since the 1970s.
Bachir may have left us with his body, but his spirit will always be alive in the minds and hearts of Saharawi future generations. May his soul rest in peace, Amen!”