Message of condolence from President Jacob Zuma on the death of Eleanor Kasrils

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Comrade Ronnie,

It is with great sadness that we learnt of Comrade Eleanor's passing.

It is a profound loss, not only for your family and for her friends and comrades, but for all those who shared her desire for a free, democratic and just South Africa.

As we mourn her passing, we are reminded of her determined contribution over many decades to the struggle for freedom.

From her early days in the movement and the struggle, and through her involvement in Umkhonto we Sizwe, Comrade Eleanor demonstrated great bravery, resourcefulness and initiative.

We recall her role in the success of our early sabotage campaigns in Durban, and her daring escape from detention.

It was during this period that her qualities as a capable and courageous freedom fighter became apparent; qualities that she was to demonstrate throughout her involvement in the struggle.

Yet throughout the difficult years of exile, in the underground, during times of great danger and adversity, Comrade Eleanor was the glue that held her family together.

Like many of our people in exile, she had to overcome the hardships of separation, uncertainty and financial insecurity.

She did so with grace and resolve, without complaint or self-pity.

As we look back on a life well-lived, we are reminded of her compassion, humanity and integrity.

A person of great principle, Eleanor was resolute in her commitment to the people of this country and to the cause of freedom everywhere.

South Africa has lost a beloved daughter. Africa has lost an outstanding patriot.

We hope that you and her children - Brigid, Andrew and Chris - will be able to draw some comfort from the many heartfelt tributes that have been paid to Eleanor by those who loved, respected and admired her.

Comrade Eleanor was more than just a comrade to me, mainly due to my closeness to you. Because you were as much a brother to me as a comrade. I loved calling you ANC Khumalo or MK Mntungwa.

Comrade ANC Khumalo, the passing of Comrade Eleanor has really touched me. Please, my brother, remain strong with the children.

As we mourn this loss together, let us find solace in the knowledge that the ideals to which Comrade Eleanor dedicated her life remain at the centre of our national effort to achieve a better life for all our people.

May her soul rest in peace.


JG Zuma

Note to Editors: This message was read out on behalf of President Jacob Zuma at a memorial service in honour of Eleanor Kasrils today, 14 November 2009.