Eastern Cape department of education spokesperson Loyiso “Loyd” Pulumani was laid to rest in Komani on Saturday.
Pulumani died unexpectedly in an East London hospital after a short illness on November 1.
Gauteng education department MEC Panyaza Lesufi attended the service.
He said: “It is extremely difficult to explain the unbearable pain caused by Pulumani’s departure. After hearing about his sad passing, I had to cancel everything planned and come to his funeral and pay my last respects.
“We worked together during my tenure as the national department of basic education spokesperson.”
Lesufi said Pulumani represented the EC education department exceptionally well at all times.
“We are celebrating a communication guru, a very humble and hard-working civil servant of note, always ready to communicate departmental messages to the public. We will remember him in a good way.”
Lesufi also tweeted the following words upon the news of Pulumani’s passing: “We did this communication thing together for more than 10 years but you can’t event hint that you are leaving this world.
“You did not run away from communicating bad news. You remained loyal to our profession. Lala ngoxolo #LoyisoPulumani Communica-tor par excellence.”
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane passed his message of support and condolence to Pulumani’s family.
“The pain you are going through is shared by provincial government officials because we spent many years with Pulumani.
“His death has shocked me. It is unfortunate that he died after we were beginning to see development in public engagement in the province.”
Mabuyane wrote that Pulumani had an unbroken, scandal-free record in his 15 years serving under five MECs.
This, he said, was not easy to achieve but was earned by his knowledge, dedication, professionalism and humble public servant spirit.
“He always sought to communicate the message of unity, co-operation and of putting pupils first.”
Mabuyane added that [EC spokespersons] had an obligation to emulate Pulumani’s exemplary conduct and dedication.
“The family can take comfort in the knowledge Pulumani’s name will forever be associated with good and not bad. I will miss his laughter, which often brought him to tears.”
Eastern Cape department of education superintendent general Themba Kojana said: “It will be difficult to find someone of Pulumani’s calibre. I am sure that journalists will miss him.”
Friend, writer and historian Brown Maba, currently based in Johannesburg, had known Pulumani for 27 years.
“We were students at Fort Hare University. We wrote a book together called Education in Exile based on Solomon Mahlangu’s Freedom College, an ANC school in Tanzania built after the 1976 Soweto uprisings.
“This is how our friendship with Pulumani flourished until this final day. He was intelligent and very modest about it. He wrote very well with good editing skills,” said Maba.
Pulumani leaves behind his wife Nomvuyo, children and sisters.