South Africa mourns the loss of Suzman

President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Thursday that anti-apartheid politician Helen Suzman...

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President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Thursday that anti-apartheid politician Helen Suzman earned her place in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>’s history through her persistent and courageous opposition to apartheid.

Suzman died at around 9:30 on New Year’s Day.

The FW de Klerk Foundation said Suzman was a lone defender of liberal values for many years.

South African poet Mzwakhe Mbuli spoke to journalists outside the late activist’s home in Illovo on Thursday.

“Today in the township, in the ghettos, everybody would say that gogo. I mean, I’m talking about people that are black saying that white liberal, that white campaigner.”

Her daughter Frances Joel said Suzman was content that she had lived a full life.

"She felt she had a long and very interesting life. She has spoken some time of being ready to go. She did not like being not having her independence. She didn’t like not being able to walk properly but she kept in touch amazingly. She was very alert right until the end."

Meanwhile, African National Congress spokesperson Carl Niehaus said she touched many lives during the dark years of apartheid.

“The ANC, on behalf of our president, Mr Jacob Zuma would like to express our great gratitude to this lady who made such a wonderful contribution in the struggle for human rights and for human decency in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>.”

Democratic <place w:st="on"><city w:st="on">Alliance leader Helen Zille said her namesake would be sorely missed.

“Helen Suzman was a giant in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>’s long march to democracy. The legacy defined by her principles, integrity and her courage.”