Late struggle veteran Ebrahim Ebrahim. Picture: Department of International Relations, Cooperation/SAPA
Late struggle veteran Ebrahim Ebrahim. Picture: Department of International Relations, Cooperation/SAPA

Tributes for Ebrahim Ebrahim continue to pour in

By Noni Mokati Time of article published Dec 6, 2021

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Tributes continue to pour in for late Struggle veteran Ebrahim Ebrahim, who died on Monday morning following a long illness. He was 84.

In a statement, the ANC described Ebrahim as "a patriot who served his country in different capacities with humility, dedication and distinction."

Freelance writer and activist Suraya Dadoo said: "While Ebrahim Ebrahim’s contribution to South Africa’s liberation struggle is well-known, his true legacy lies in the way he has generously and patiently shared his vast experience and knowledge with younger activists like myself and with people still working for their liberation like the Palestinian and Saharawi people."

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation also described Ebrahim's life as "one of courage, characterised by the spirit of sacrifice."

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 in July, Ebrahim detailed how as a young Indian boy, joining the struggle for liberation at 14 years old was hard, but even then, he preserved, participating in the Congress of the People Campaign.

From 1956, he volunteered to work for the weekly newspaper, New Age, which popularised the goals and achievements of the liberation struggle. He spent all his free time selling copies at the Durban bus ranks after school and at rallies and meeting places on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ebrahim was among the first comrades recruited into MK in Natal in 1961 and joined MK’s Natal High Command.

As a young saboteur, he commanded an MK 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 at Robben Island.

He was released in 1979.

Speaking of Ebrahim, Former president Nelson Mandela said at a lunch celebrating his release from Robben Island in 1991: “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.

Some of the awards he has received include 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 – a knighthood at the rank of Knight Commander - in recognition of his contribution to the struggle for democracy in South Africa.

He leaves behind his wife Shannon, his children, family members and his beloved comrades.

You can read Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim - A Gentle Revolutionary, here.

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Political Bureau

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