Former Deputy Minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim dies after protracted illness

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84-year-old Ebrahim Ebrahim, a former deputy minister of foreign relations and cooperation, has died.

After a protracted illness, the anti-apartheid campaigner and struggle veteran died at his home on Monday morning.

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Shannon Ebrahim, his wife, verified his death.

Ebrahim, affectionately called as ‘Ebie’ by his companions, had a long and famous political career.

He is reported to have entered the civil rights movement in 1952 as a young activist.

In a July interview with Independent Media, Ebrahim described how difficult it was for him to join the liberation struggle at the age of 14 as an Indian lad. He persevered, finally taking part in the People’s Congress Campaign.

From 1956 to 1957, he volunteered for the New Age, a weekly journal that popularised the liberation struggle’s ideals and achievements. On Saturdays and Sundays, he spent his leisure time selling copies at Durban bus stations after school and at rallies and meeting locations.

In 1961, Ebrahim was one of the first comrades to join Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in Natal, joining MK’s Natal High Command. He commanded a unit as a teenage saboteur that carried out multiple successful acts of sabotage against government installations, putting his life in jeopardy.

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MK never intended to harm civilians.

In 1961, he was caught and charged under the Sabotage Act, and he was sentenced to 15 years on Robben Island.

In 1979, he was freed.

“Ebrahim emerged as one of the most prominent foundations of the movement, who was not only committed and faithful, but who had the ability to articulate the objectives of the organisation,” Nelson Mandela remarked of Ebrahim during a meal commemorating his release from Robben Island in 1991.

For a portion of the Fifth Parliament, Ebrahim also served as parliamentary counsellor to the head of government business (deputy president).

In 2012, he was given the Military Veterans Decoration in Platinum in honour of his services in bringing South Africa closer to peace, democracy, and freedom.

He also received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from the President of India in 2013 for excellence in his area and giving prominence to India, as well as the Order of Civil Merit from King Felipe VI of Spain. In appreciation of his commitment to the Struggle, he was knighted with the rank of knight commander.

Shannon, his children, family members, and buddies are among those he leaves behind.

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