Humble revolutionary celebrated at book launch

It is often said that politics is best suited to big personalities and the voices of the meek are silenced and obscured.

The launch of Beyond Fear: Reflections of a Freedom Fighter, a book by the late Ebrahim Ebrahim, challenges this notion by highlighting the freedom fighter’s contribution to the fight for a democratic South Africa.

At the official book launch at the South Africa In The Making exhibition space at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, the late anti-apartheid activist, who served two terms on Robben Island, was applauded for telling his story and that of lesser-known contributors, especially anti-apartheid activists.

Ebrahim was first convicted of three counts of sabotage in February 1964 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was also charged with treason and sentenced to 20 years in prison in January 1989. In February 1991, Ebrahim was released.

About the book, renowned poet and writer Dr. Gcina Mhlophe said, “This book is painful, it is fascinating, funny. That’s the kind of thing that’s so inspiring. This book beautifully tells the story of Ebrahim’s journey.

Shannon Ebrahim, former journalist and wife of the late activist, spoke about the life and times she shared with her husband, who died of lung cancer in 2021 at the age of 84.

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“The prospect of a life with Ebie was not daunting. I think it was more inspiring than anything. He was a very serious and very ideological politician but at the same time he was very human and very adventurous He loved to travel. We went on a camel safari in India, we went river trekking in Congo and he was full of life,” she said.

On the corruption and government scandal, ruling party and former president Jacob Zuma, Shannon said that although her Effingham-raised husband has never spoken publicly, he is disappointed with the current situation.

“I think the one thing about Ebie that those who knew him well would attest to was that no matter who you were or what you did, he was never going to hang his dirty laundry out to dry. I know as his wife that he was offered things, and he was seen as an easy target that many could bribe. But, to his credit, he said no to everything. It didn’t matter what was going to happen in the future, but he was never going to go against his values. And that’s why I believe he didn’t go through another term in Zuma’s cabinet, he was incorruptible,” she said.

The book delves into Ebrahim’s lived experiences, thoughts, beliefs and hopes for South Africa.

It is available in bookstores and online.

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