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Tributes to honour Ruth Golembo

Communications doyen and former business journalist, Ruth Golembo, passed away suddenly on Thursday, 14 July 2016. She was 54. Her funeral on Sunday, 17 July 2016, at Cape Town's Jewish Cemetery, was well-attended by media, communications professionals and business stalwarts alike.
Ruth Golembo
Ruth has been described as a remarkable woman and her death is a great loss, not only to her family and friends, but to the broader media and communications industry in South Africa, where she made a huge contribution in a career spanning over 30 years.

She was from Cradock in the Eastern Cape and attended Rhenish Girls’ High School, Stellenbosch, before studying law at the University of Pretoria and going into journalism.

She started her career as a journalist at the Sunday Times, later, after adding a financial qualification to her law degree, she worked as a senior investment columnist on Business Times and for the Financial Mail investment section.

She joined Lange PR over 25 years ago, later acquiring the majority shareholding and rebranding to Lange 360. Lange was acquired by Meropa Communications in 2015, in a deal which saw Ruth taking up a special strategic role in the business. She took semi-retirement shortly after the merger.

At the time of the merger, in June 2015, Meropa CEO, Peter Mann, said he greatly admired what Golembo and her team had achieved in the communications and public relations arena, according to Fin24.

In a statement, Meropa described Ruth “as a hard-working, entrepreneurial communications professional who not only built up a successful public relations consultancy (creating many long-term jobs) but who gave unstintingly of her time and expertise to sector organisations such as the Cape Town Press Club.

“Ruth was an often-quoted thought leader in the strategic communications arena. She was acknowledged by clients, team members and industry professionals for her unwavering commitment to the broader communications industry. 

“Ruth was incredibly generous in both sharing her knowledge and skills and inspired everyone with her enthusiasm and insights.”

In a statement, the Cape Town Press Club, expressed deep sadness at Ruth’s sudden passing. She was a former vice-chair of the Cape Town Press Club. “Ruth has been one of the club’s longest serving and most loyal committee members, and helped arrange some of the club's most successful club events and was also much involved in fundraising activities.

“Her commitment to the ideals for which the Club stood for, and her energy, work-ethic and talent will remain an inspiration to the rest of us. We will miss Ruth deeply, and send our condolences to her friends, family and colleagues.”

On various Facebook forums, friends expressed their shock at her sudden death, lauding her as “a wonderful mentor and inspiration in the industry”; “an industry stalwart, gone far too soon”; “a big smile and a heart to match”; “an inspiring and dynamic lady”; and much more in the same vein.

“She truly was an icon in our industry. She will be sorely missed. Wishing her family long life,” commented recruitment specialist, Viv Gordon.

Cape Town Press Club secretary-general, Donwald Pressly, said Ruth was “one of the most vibrant people I have ever encountered”.

PR industry specialist, Brian Berkman, writing on’s Tribute Wall for Ruth Golembo, described her as “kind and generous with her time” and someone who was “passionate about PR being a results-driven profession”.

And her former business partner at Lange 360, Shelly Stamatiadis, now with Meropa Communications, expressed her heartbreak at the news. “Her tireless enthusiasm, love of life, generosity and inspiration infected all who met her. She opened her heart and home to all she knew, enveloping them into her circle of light and love. Ruth inspired and enabled so many to follow successful careers in both the media and PR industries and will be sorely missed.”

Ruth is survived by her husband Dr Bob Mesarcik, who she met when they were both students, and sons Paul, Misha and David, the youngest of whom is in Matric.

* has set up a Tribute Page for anyone to pay tribute to Ruth.
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It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our colleague, Ruth Golembo, who passed away unexpectedly in Cape Town on Thursday morning. We send our deepest condolences to Ruth's family -- her husband Dr Bob Mesarcik and her three beloved sons Paul, Misha and David. Meropa was proud to acquire Ruth's company, Lange 360 Strategic Communications last year and to integrate her staff and clients into the Meropa family. Although Ruth retired shortly after the acquisition her presence lives on in our company, in her excellent staff and clients. We had known and admired Ruth for a long time. She was a gifted PR person, a strong entrepreneur, an excellent lawyer, a fine journalist and a wonderful person. She will be sorely missed by all her knew her.
Patrick Gearing, Managing Director Meropa Communications
Words fail to express the heartbreak and shock of Ruth's sudden passing last Thursday. Friend, mentor, colleague and business partner, I had known and worked with Ruth for 24 years. Her tireless enthusiasm, love of life, generosity and inspiration infected all who met her. She opened her heart and home to all she knew, enveloping them into her circle of light and love. Ruth inspired and enabled so many to follow successful careers in both the media and PR industries and will be sorely missed.
Shelly Stamatiadis, Meropa Communications and former business partner at Lange 360
The Cape Town Press Club learned with deep sadness of the sudden passing of one of its former vice chairs, Ruth Golembo. Ruth has been one of the club’s longest serving and most loyal committee members, and helped arrange some of the club's most successful club events and was also much involved in fundraising activities. Her commitment to the ideals for which the Club stood for, and her energy, work-ethic and talent will remain an inspiration to the rest of us. We will miss Ruth deeply, and send our condolences to her friends, family and colleagues.
Cape Town Press Club co-chairs Joylene van Wyk and Brent Meersman
Ruth Golembo was kind and generous with her time but didn’t suffer fools. I knew her to be forthright and someone who was passionate about PR being a results-driven profession. She was a thought leader and will be sorely missed
Brian Berkman PR-Net founder
Ruth was a shining light within our PR industry, a mentor, and an inspirational woman and leader who will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know her. Our thoughts and positive prayers are with her family and friends
Tracy Jones, Managing Director, Positive Dialogue Communications
Ruth was a true inspiration and mentor and a great loss to the PR industry. We wish her family long life.
Galia Kerbel, Managing Director, Greater Than
Ruth was one of the most vibrant, generous & intelligent members of the media who left journalism to join the PR Industry. We had a mutual respect for each other and & were good friends, though often competitors. I will miss her big heart & her big smile, her kindness & enthusiasm for life, her sincerity & integrity. She was a mensch.
Ann Wallis-Brown, former co-founder & co-owner of HWB Communications.
I was lucky enough to work with Ruth and privileged to call her a friend. My heart goes out to Bob and the boys. My future Bastille Days will always be in your honour Ruth.
Sharon Davey
I had the great pleasure of working with Ruth for over 7 years. During this time I came to appreciate her sound & strategic advice, as well as her insightful approach to any problem. Ruth assisted TFG both in times of crisis PR and general corporate comms. She was such a vibrant force, her presence will be sorely missed.
Kathryn Sakalis, TFG (The Foschini Group)
We worked with Ruth during her time at Lange PR and found her to be honest, intuitive, capable and results-oriented. On a personal level she was generous, kind and always a pleasure to engage with. Our sincere condolences to her friends, colleagues and family.
Anton Ressel, Senior Strategist Fetola
Ruth was a brilliant professional and a true industry icon, and all of that matched to vivacity, warmth and generosity of spirit. A great talent, a great mind and a great heart - she will be greatly missed.
Pnina Fenster, editor GLAMOUR
#RIP_RuthGolembo and thank you for believing and seeing potential in me. I will forever appreciate the opportunity you gave me as a 22-year-old who had no work experience in the media industry, but you saw something. The experience I got from Lange 360 was invaluable and sets me apart. Lala ngoxolo mama Ruth!
Luyanda Ceketwane, Digital Content Marketer
A PR legend and extraordinary businesswomen, Ruth was also a warm and wonderful friend with a big heart, huge compassion, boundless energy and all the enthusiasm in the world. She will be sorely missed both professionally and personally. My deepest condolences to Bob, Paul, Misha and David.
Glenn Bryant, former colleague
True greatness in life is about so much more than what you've achieved, but how you welcome people into your life. And, even more important, how you make them feel – irrespective of whether you are a friend, colleague or client. In the 28 years that I've known Ruth, I've had the privilege of being all three, but whether the encounter was informal as a friend or formal as in a job to be done, she always made me feel I was special, I was important and I was very, very welcome. Ruth – I will miss your physical presence enormously. But you’ll always be welcome in my heart where you’ve been since the first time I met you.
Carola Koblitz, Communications Manager, Cape Town Central City Improvement District
Such a talent and so full of energy - so sad to hear of her passing. I'm proud to have called her colleague, mentor and friend during my time at Lange and after. My deepest condolences to Bob, Paul, Misha, David and all those she left behind.
Mervyn Dziva, former colleague at Lange 360
The news of Ruth's passing is truly shocking. It was a privilege to have worked with her for many years (mutual client). A lady of substance and character! She will be sadly missed. Deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.
Justine Smith
I think we are so shocked at Ruths passing because she was truly larger than life. Ruth managed our PR through the companies growth as a start up to becoming the third largest generic company in South Africa. She was such an important part of that success story. I hope I adequately communicated our appreciation while she was still alive. She was always supportive, and left me feeling better for having met her.She will be missed.
Paul Anley. Founder and Director, Pharma Dynamics.
RIP Ruth. Thank you for the example you were. What a privilege it was to have been part of the Lange team - to have worked with you and to have learnt so much from you.I can but honour you through my work. Love to you Bob, Misha and Paul.
Jacqui Setoaba, former colleague
Very sad to hear about the death of Ruth Golembo, my condolences to her family and friends. I had the privilege of working with Ruth early on in my career on a shared client. I have very good, fond memories of working with her. She was a true professional. Rest in Peace Ruth.
Samantha Manclark, Director A Better World Network
Faced with re-branding my existing firm or stating something new, Ruth and her team were part of the inspiration in me starting Whipping the Cat - a whole new way of delivering legal services - without Ruth's passion and encouragement I probably would have just had V1.1 but she inspired me to go for V2. Eternally greatful to a wonderful person. RIP Ruth.
Graeme Wilson, CEO, Whipping the Cat
I first met Ruth in the mid-1980s when she was a financial journo for the Sunday Times. We sometimes had lunch at El Gaucho in the Carlton Hotel with Jo'burg PR clients of mine. She was super friendly, a brilliant journalist and went on to shine in the PR industry. She was hugely talented, with a quick mind and relaxed manner. Ruth will be greatly missed as a doyenne in our industry. Sincere condolences to her family and colleagues.
Donald Fraser Bett, Proprietor, Fraser 4 PR.
may her soul rest in eternal peace
farayi edgar budding writer
A very sad loss - we were very proud of her.
Letitia Snyman (former principal of Rhenish Girls' High School)
What sad news to hear of Ruth's death. And what a loss to the PR sector. Ruth was a dynamic force in the industry, always passionate and professional. She will be sorely missed. Sending condolences to her family and friends.
Kerry Seymour, Managing Director Splash PR
I met Ruth very early in my career while I interned at Lange PR. She had a great vision and laughed easily at how crazy client could be - a consummate professional who worked tirelessly towards excellence! Sh'es left huge stilletto's to fill. Peace and blessings to her family and loved ones.
Claire Forbes, Pragma
Ruth was a gracious lady through and through. An industry icon and a loyal and true friend and colleague, too. She had a generous and thoughtful heart despite being in a hard-driven environment. Thank you for your excellent example, Ruth and rest in peace and happiness. Long life to your family. Love always. Pepe XXX
Pepe Sofianos
I have known Ruth since the early 70's, all the through youth camps, varsity and professional life. On the occasions we met up she was always filled with her tireless enthusiasm for life, family and friends. Her sudden and early passing has left a vacuum that can not be filled. She will be dearly missed.
Mike Kanowitz - long time friend
It is with absolute sadness that I learned about your passing Ruth! I remember meeting you at Fancourt in the garden and will never forget your beautiful smiling eyes and your happy voice! Thank you for always being professional, today I still measure PR by your standards! My sincerest condolences to Bob and the kids!
Daniellia Schaller, Senior Account Director Octagon SA
All the below is true. And also, Ruth was real, and funny, and honest, and vulnerable; and she was solid as a rock . At her funeral, I saw for the first time the extent of her friends-network, how it reached across generations; and the shock we all share at the fragility of it all was at least in part a testament to the life-force of Ruth Galembo. We won't forget.
Heather Parker
I was devastated to learn that Ruth passed away last week. I first came to know Ruth when Lange 360 came on board to do the PR for Castrol. She always had a twinkle in her eye and a spring in her step and tackled anything with passion and tenacity. Outside of PR we had a lot in common and became more than a colleague or an agency that I had brought on board. I came to think of her as my "PR mom" because I could always ask her advice and she was always there to graciously give it. What a remarkable lady, the world is poorer without her in it and I will miss being able to call her up when I visit the Mother City for a quick coffee or lunch in a quirky restaurant she'd recently found. Love and light to Bob, Paul, Misha and David.
Nandi Canning - Communications Manager Tracker
Ruth's tireless energy and creativity and her dedication to every project she took on, stand out in my memories of working with her as a client on numerous projects over the years. She never failed to deliver, with that sparkling smile and with great grace. I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. What a dreadful loss for the media community, and a terrrible blow to her family and friends. Always missed, never forgotten.
Vera Theron de Hen, publisher and journalist