Former Deputy Minister & Struggle Veteran Ebrahim Ebrahim Passes Away at 84

Former Deputy International Relations Minister and struggle veteran Ebrahim Ebrahim has passed away. 

The 84-year-old who was part of the first democratic parliament in 1994 passed away on Monday after a long illness at his home in Johannesburg. 

Ebrahim, affectionately known as Ebi, was a longstanding member of the African National Congress (ANC). 

Ebrahim joined the liberation movement as a youth activist in 1952, and through the National Indian Congress (NIC) participated in the Congress of the People Campaign, which drew up and adopted the Freedom Charter in 1955.

He was active in all the campaigns of the 1950’s, and after the banning of the ANC in 1960 and joined the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto We Sizwe in 1961. 

Ebrahim was arrested in 1963 and charged under the sabotage act with eighteen other accused in the Pietermaritzburg Sabotage Trial and  was sentenced to 15 years on Robben Island. 

He was released in 1979, was banned and restricted to his home town in Durban.

Ebrahim was elected a member of the National Assembly of Parliament in 1994 and in August 1997 was elected Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee and also became a member of the Joint Select Committee on Intelligence. 

Ebrahim resigned from Parliament in July 2002, to take up the position of the Senior Political and Economic Advisor to the Deputy President of South Africa. 

Since 2002 Ebrahim was actively involved in conflict resolution efforts between Israel and Palestine, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as in Burundi, Kosovo, Bolivia, and Nepal.

In 2006 Ebrahim was appointed as Head of International Affairs at the ANC Head Office and in May 2009 he was appointed as Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, a position he carried out with diligence until 2017.

His official biography, Ebrahim Ebrahim. A Gentle Revolutionary by his wife and partner Shannon Ebrahim was published by the Kathrada Foundation in 2017.

As he explained this life in his own words: “I have been involved in the struggle for liberation for over 36 years. I spend about half that period in prison. My life has been one struggle for peace and natural justice, for a common humanity and a struggle against the greatest evil of this century, the evil of racism. If I were to choose my life all over again I would follow the same path. I could never have remained indifferent to the poverty and suffering of our people.”

Ebrahim is survived by wife Shannon, and their children Sarah and Caden.

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