AU pays tribute to Muhammad Ali and hails him as a ‘great son of Africa’

ADDIS ABABA, June 7 (ANA) – The African Union on Tuesday added its voice to the chorus of tributes pouring in for boxing great Muhammad Ali, hailing him as a “true Pan Africanist”.

AU Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement that Ali’s death left a gap in the boxing community, and in the wider global community.

Ali passed away in an Arizona hospital last week after a three-decade fight with Parkinson’s disease. He had been hospitalised for a respiratory illness a day before. Ali was 74 years old.

“Ali was a hugely inspiring figure whose impact, beyond his punches in the boxing ring, generated waves of vibration across diverse populations around the globe.
He will be missed the world over, and no less in Africa,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Speaking of Ali’s “deep roots and extensive connections with the continent of Africa,” Dlamimi-Zuma noted how Ali “never let go of any single opportunity to re-echo his ancestral link with the ‘homeland’, as he put it in his own words, upholding Africa as the cradle of civilisation”.

Dlamini-Zuma recalled how Ali “fought for freedom, justice and equality, including for black people, with unreserved energy and full determination”.

“He supported Africa’s fight against colonialism, including the fight against Apartheid in South Africa.”

“He was a great son of Africa, who paid numerous visits to countries and met with different leaders of Africa,” she said. “Muhammad Ali was larger than life! His passion and compassion will be greatly missed and forever remembered.”

Ali’s famous 1974 Kinshasa fight against George Foreman, dubbed Rumble in the Jungle, is part of boxing folklore, as is his Thrilla in Manilla bout against Joe Frazier a year later.

Ali though, was about so much more than legendary boxing feats, as his role in America’s Civil Rights movement, his public resistance to being drafted for the Vietnam War and being a champion of minority rights showed.

He was appointed the United Nations Messenger for Peace in 1998.

Ali will be laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States on Friday June, 10.

– African News Agency (ANA)

Disclaimer: This story is pulled directly from the African News Agency wire, and has not been edited by Mail & Guardian staff. The M&G does not accept responsibility for errors in any statement, quote or extract that may be contained therein.

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