Alex Boraine File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Relatives, friends and former colleagues of anti-apartheid icon Alex Boraine will gather at the Anglican Christ Church in Constantia for a memorial service next Thursday.

Boraine, who served as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's deputy chairperson at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, died on Wednesday after a remission of cancer and a recent fall.

Andrew Boraine said his 87-year-old father contributed significantly to the new democratic South Africa.

“We are in the process of arranging for a private cremation.

“We remember him first as a loving and wise husband, father and grandfather. We salute his lifelong dedication to non-racialism, human rights, democracy and social justice in South Africa and around the world.

"Most of all he inspired us with his passion for life and his big heart.”

Boraine and fellow Progressive Party MP and party leader Van Zyl Slabbert left Parliament in 1986 to start the Institute for a Democratic South Africa (Idasa) in 1987. “They felt it was no longer possible to change the country from its apartheid policies.” Idasa had arranged meetings between South African society leaders and exiles to encourage and plan a new democratic South Africa."

Andrew said his father proposed the idea of the TRC to then president Nelson Mandela after the first democratic elections.

The commission heard 20 000 testimonies from South Africans affected countrywide by the horrors of apartheid.

After the commission, Boraine had also started the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York.

It did similar work to the TRC in countries such as Lebanon, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Brazil and Argentina.

He also chaired the TRC in Mauritius, which looked at slavery and colonialism.

He wrote a number of books, including A Country Unmasked (about the TRC) and South Africa: What's Gone Wrong.

Born in Lansdowne in 1931, Boraine left school at the age of 14, but later completed matric and a degree in theology in 1957 at Rhodes University.

He also studied for an MA degree at Oxford University and for a PhD at Drew University (US) and was head of the Methodist Church in South Africa.

Boraine is survived by his widow Jennifer, his four children, their spouses and seven grandchildren.

The memorial service starts at 2pm.