Cape Town - Former trade unionist, activist, businessman and academic Dr Dennis George was remembered at his funeral service by friends, family and associates as a family man, an avid golfer, a friend and a true comrade.
George was born in Goodwood, Cape Town in 1958 and died aged 65 on May 15 in Johannesburg, where he lived, after a long illness.
He is survived by his widow Natalie, children Dennis jr, Caleb and Liezel and was buried on Saturday at Durbanville Memorial Park.
Describing George as a comrade in his tribute, Independent Media chairman Dr Iqbal Survé, the keynote speaker at the funeral, traced the origin of the term “comrade” to the 14th century when it was used by merchants to mean a friend or trusted companion.
Survé said that George, who was also deputy chairman of Independent Media, embodied the meaning of comrade as a “friend, fighting with you as a soldier in the trenches”.
He said in that sense, George was a true comrade: “But his fight was not just for himself but his community, for the workers of our country and for our country.”
For many years, George was general-secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa).
In his speech at the service on Saturday, Fedusa president Godfrey Selematsela said George would be remembered as a committed leader of the working class.
Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said George’s life covered the labour movement from his beginnings as the son of union members to his time as a textile worker and becoming the organiser for various unions at Transnet, then finally as the leader of Fedusa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a tribute that was read to mourners at the Petra Life Centre church in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain.
“We will remember Dennis for the contributions he made at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and the adoption of our national minimum wage in the interest of our country’s lowest paid and most vulnerable workers,” Ramaphosa said.