THE Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) and the Media Review Network (MRN) have paid tribute to Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim who passed away earlier today, at the age of 84.
Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
After fighting a valiant battle with cancer, Comrade Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim succumbed to his illness at the age of 84. ‘Ebie’, as he was fondly known, will be remembered in the annals of our struggle history for his unwavering commitment and bravery. He will also be remembered for his humility and gentleness.
He was a close comrade of our founder, Ahmed Kathrada and enjoyed affectionate relationships with many Board and staff members of the Foundation.
Ebie dedicated most of his life to the cause of freedom in South Africa. As a member of the Natal Indian Congress, his youth was focused on the seminal struggles of the 1950s, including participation in the Congress of the People in 1955, where he participated in the adoption of the Freedom Charter.
He did not hesitate when recruited into the first generation of cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe leading to his arrest and subsequent imprisonment of 15 years on Robben Island. After his release, he later went into exile. During the 1980s, he was illegally kidnapped by apartheid operatives from Swaziland into South Africa. He was sentenced again to Robben Island, this time for ten years. After an appeal found that he was illegally rendered, he was released.
Upon his release in 1991, Ebie played a central role in the transition from apartheid to democracy and during the democratic era served as an MP and a deputy minister. He was passionate about supporting the Palestinian struggle and the struggles of oppressed people the world over.
Comrade Ebrahim’s biography, authored by his wife Shannon, and published by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation in 2017, was titled A Gentle Revolutionary. It epitomized his manner by all who knew him: gentle, kind-hearted and humble. Prior to his own passing, Ahmed Kathrada described Ebie’s life as one of ‘courage’ and the ‘spirit of sacrifice’. These were two sides of the same person; in harmony with one another.
Ebie was disheartened by the graft and mismanagement that has characterised governance in post-apartheid South Africa. He believed strongly that these excesses contradicted the ideals of a democratic order based on the Freedom Charter.
His passing is a loss to the nation as well as to his wife Shannon and his children. He will be sorely missed as the epitome of valour and humility. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and comrades in South Africa and around the world.
Hamba Kahle Umkhonto!
Media Review Network
Media Review Network joins millions of South Africans in mourning the death of Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim.
Ebie as he will be fondly remembered, was an outstanding giant in South Africa’s liberation movement.
His tenacious commitment to the freedom struggle against Apartheid, racism and injustices will eternally be enshrined in the annals of this country’s history.
Despite the brutalities of torture, imprisonment and banishment, Ebrahim stood firm and unbowed. Indeed a life of inspiration as he bravely remained unwavering in his fight against oppression.
As he explained this life in his own words: ‘I have been involved in the struggle for liberation for over 36 years. I spent 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.”
In paying tribute to Ebrahim, we offer our sincere condolences to his wife Shannon, children, family and friends.
It is our fervent dua that Allah rewards him with the best of rewards in Jannah.
This article was updated at 18:00 on December 6, 2021 to include the tribute by Media Review Network.