Pretoria - Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Graeme Wilson died in his home in Pretoria on Tuesday after a short illness.
President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday praised Wilson for the passion he felt for Africa and especially South Africa and conveyed the condolences of the government and people of South Africa to the government and people of Australia and Wilson’s family.
"High Commissioner Wilson was a remarkable person, a true gentleman and ambassador for his country,” Zuma said in a statement.
“He left no stone unturned to strengthen relations between South Africa and Australia and will always be remembered for the passion he had for Africa and, in particular, South Africa, the country where he was the resident High Commissioner since January 2013.
“In this time of mourning, our thoughts are with the family of High Commissioner Wilson. We wish the family strength during this difficult time. He will be sorely missed.”
Wilson left a wife Lisa and three children.
The Australian High Commission said on its website on Wednesday that Wilson “died peacefully in his home in Pretoria on 2 September after a short illness.
“The family of Mr Wilson request privacy during this difficult time.
“A condolence book is available for signature at the Australian High Commission, 292 Orient Street, Arcadia.
“Information on a memorial service in Mr Wilson’s honour to be held in Pretoria will be advised in due course.”
Bene M’Poko, ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and dean of the diplomatic corps in South Africa said: “ We have lost a great colleague and a good friend. He was a great ambassador, very friendly, very dedicated to his work. He never hesitated to share his knowledge.”
Wilson was a career diplomat who had previously been the First Assistant Secretary for the Americas and Africa Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, and before that Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Ambassador to Mexico and Consul-General in New Caledonia. He had also held earlier postings in France and Vanuatu and had been Chief of Protocol.
Wilson held a Master of Arts in French from the University of Melbourne, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Melbourne.
Independent Foreign Service