Former deputy minister of international relations and cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim has died. He was 84.
The anti-apartheid activist and Struggle veteran died at his home on Monday morning following a long illness.
His death was confirmed by his wife, Shannon Ebrahim.
Affectionately known as ’Ebie’ to his comrades, Ebrahim had a long, illustrious career in politics.
He is known to have joined the liberation movement as a youth activist in 1952.
In an interview with Independent Media in July, Ebrahim detailed how, as an Indian boy, joining the struggle for liberation at the age of 14 was hard. He preserved, eventually participating in the Congress of the People Campaign.
From 1956, he volunteered to work for the weekly newspaper, the New Age, which popularised the goals and achievements of the liberation Struggle. He spent his free time selling copies at Durban bus ranks after school, and at rallies and meeting places on Saturdays and Sundays.
Ebrahim was among the first comrades recruited into Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in Natal in 1961, joining MK’s Natal High Command. As a young saboteur, he commanded a unit that carried out several successful acts of sabotage against government installations, at great risk to his personal safety.
At no time did MK target civilians.
He was subsequently arrested and charged under the Sabotage Act in 1961 and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on Robben Island.
He was released in 1979.
Speaking of Ebrahim at a lunch celebrating his release from Robben Island in 1991, Nelson Mandela said , “Ebrahim emerged as one of the most outstanding pillars of the movement, who was not only committed and loyal, but who had the ability to explain the policies of the organisation.”
Ebrahim also served as the parliamentary counsellor to the leader of government business (deputy president) for a portion of the Fifth Parliament.
One of the awards he received was the Military Veterans Decoration in Platinum in 2012, in recognition of his sacrifices made to bring about peace, democracy and freedom in South Africa.
He was also awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, presented to him by the president of India in 2013, for exceptionalism in his field and bringing prestige to India, and the Order of Civil Merit bestowed by the King of Spain Felipe VI. The knighthood, at the rank of knight commander, was in recognition of his contribution to the Struggle.
He leaves behind his wife Shannon, his children, family members and his comrades.