From helping to transform the SABC from an apartheid mouthpiece, to being instrumental in the 2010 FIFA World Cup broadcast. That’s how former CEO Solly Mokoetle was remembered at a memorial service, hosted by the public broadcaster in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

Mokoetle died on Friday after battling ill health since last year.

The former CEO was described as a selfless man with purpose. Former colleagues, friends and family paid tribute to him.

His son Elbethel Mokoetle says, “Always a family man that was hard-rooted, and that’s how clear it always was, especially when he was one of the rebels in the ANC mission, when he left the country in 1974 through the exile mission, his purpose never left.”

Sizwe Nzimande remembers a friend, “I met the real Solly in the last three years. Most of us remember when he was ill and got lost; and the illness was starting to win but his strength of character, his ability to smile and laugh.”

Former Colleague Yvone Kgame described Mokoetle as a visionary who championed pluralism in the industry.

“He’d watch television and say I don’t see representation, where are the elderly? Where are the disabled? Where are the people from rural areas? Where is the voice of the youth?”

Deputy Minister of Communication and Digital Technologies Pinky Kekana was among those who gathered to pay tribute to Mokoetle.

“It is therefore no surprise that in 1994 he led the charge for the SABC to be transformed from an apartheid mouthpiece to a true public broadcaster that served all South Africans.”

SABC Board Member Michael Markovitz says he was committed to fulfilling the SABC’s mandate of building an informed society.

“I’d like to thank him deeply for his contribution to shaping this organisation and the industry at large. His role shall never be forgotten and he’ll be deeply missed.”

Mokoetle will be laid to rest in Durban next Saturday. -Reporting by Linathi Bodlani