Indian-Origin Anti-Apartheid Hero Ebrahim Ebrahim Dies at Age of 84

He worked as the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and parliamentary counsellor in Mandela's government.

2 min read
Indian-Origin Anti-Apartheid Hero Ebrahim Ebrahim Dies at Age of 84

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Ebrahim İsmail Ebrahim, the Indian-origin anti-apartheid icon who had spent many years in jail with Nelson Mandela, died at the age of 84, announced African National Congress (ANC), the political party that currently governs South Africa.

Referring to Ebrahim as "another giant tree" that had "fallen", the party said that he died after a prolonged illness.

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife and children, as well as their extended family, friends and comrades," the statement read.


"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," the statement added.

Inspired by the non-violent resistance campaigns of Mahatma Gandhi against British colonialism, Ebrahim had joined the liberation struggle at the young age of 13, PTI reported.

Another factor that had prompted his participation in the movement was his father's arrests for refusing to accept the racist laws that restricted the movement of Indian people in South Africa.

Time in Prison

Like Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada, Ebrahim was locked up on Robben Island as a political prisoner.

He was arrested in 1963, and shared a holding cell with Jacob Zuma, the fourth president of South Africa. "I was very close to him (Zuma) and we slept next to each other," he had told AFP.

He even obtained two university degrees while serving time.

A while after he was released, Ebrahim was kidnapped in 1986 by apartheid agents and sent back to prison, Al Jazeera reported.

Ebrahim was finally freed in 1991 and secured a seat in South Africa's Parliament during the first democratic elections in 1994.

Under Nelson Mandela, who was the first elected president of post-apartheid South Africa, he worked as the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and parliamentary counsellor.

Ebrahim has represented the ANC on his visits to conflict-torn countries like Sri Lanka, Palestine, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bolivia and Nepal.

He is survived by his wife Shannon, who is a journalist, and two children.

(With inputs from PTI, AFP, and Al Jazeera)

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