Ebrahim Ismail, Indian-Origin South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Veteran, Passes Away At 84


New Delhi: Inspired by Mahatama Gandhi’s non-violent ways of protesting, an Indian-origin anti-apartheid icon, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim passed away on Monday. He was 84. Ebrahim leaves behind his wife Shannon and two children.

South Africa’s ruling party African National Congress (ANC) made the announcement late Monday night. As per the party’s statement, Ebrahim died after a long illness at his home in Johannesburg.

Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim spent years imprisoned on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela.

“Comrade Ebi, as he was affectionately known, was a longstanding member of the ANC, a patriot who served his country in different capacities with humility, dedication, and distinction,” ANC said in the statement.

After his father was arrested twice for defying laws that restricted the movement of Indians in South Africa, he joined the liberation struggle at the age of 13.

He often stated how he had been inspired by the Satyagraha style of Mahatma Gandhi, which he used in his passionate representation of the ANC in global conflict situations in Sri Lanka, Palestine, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bolivia, and Nepal.

Ebrahim was arrested in 1963 and imprisoned on Robben Island, where he shared a cell with former president Jacob Zuma.

After his release, Ebrahim went into exile to continue his work with the ANC but was abducted by apartheid-era security police from neighboring Swaziland, tortured, and sentenced to a second term on Robben Island.

He obtained two university degrees while on Robben Island.

After the release of all political prisoners and the election of Mandela as South Africa’s first democratic president, Ebrahim served in various capacities, including as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Counsellor to Mandela.

(With PTI Inputs)



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