Passing of the late Mzukisi Mooi

By Published On: 20th October 2021

This edition is dedicated to the memory and sterling work of the late Mzukisi Mooi, who sadly passed away on 12 September 2021, and whose presence, wisdom and expertise will be sorely missed. Long will his legacy of justice, fairness, ethical practice and valuing everyone’s dignity continue, his memory will forever remain in our hearts. Rest in Peace, Mzukisi.

IJR Tribute

Mr Mzukisi Mooi comes from a very rare breed of social justice and conflict mediation experts that the country and the world needs. Like many of his ilk, he could have easily gained leadership in government but seems to have preferred continuing to work with the vulnerable and the marginalized at the grassroots of society.

His father was a respected and senior church minister in his home community of Oudtshoorn. Mzukisi himself worked for years in the South African Council of Churches during the politically turbulent 1980s. As a result of his struggle activities, arrest, underground work among others, he testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

It is partly this gravitas that kept him at the top leadership echelons of the agricultural sector and social justice in post-apartheid South Africa for decades.

He was chairperson of the Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association, which awards trade licenses to exporters of wine to the European and other key international markets, based on assessment of ethical treatment of workers.

In addition to his many talents, he also represented South Africa on the leadership of the International Labour Organisation.

In the IJR’s Social Dialogue in Agriculture Project, we could not have asked for a more effective field process establisher for the most difficult farming communities in the province and arguably South Africa. Mzukisi, through the Centre for Rural and Legal Studies, did such an amazing job in getting and keeping stakeholders with divergent ideological perspectives in the same room, in Grabouw and De Doorns. The Panels in these areas remain among the most resilient despite their towns having the most frequent protests which bring agriculture to a standstill as they very often close the N2 or N1 respectively.  In all the areas in which he worked, we have the most diverse Panels in terms of race, class and gender which engage in the most robust dialogues.  He was respected by all in the sector.

Testament of his trust across the sector is seen in the diversity in the IJR’s Advisory Group. The Social Dialogues in Agriculture Project, IJR, the panels and elsewhere, will remain indebted to his integrity and gravitas for years to come.

May he rest in peace and may his work ethic, values remain a legacy that remains forever.

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