Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

Medical Writing Institute click here

MJoTAtalks click here

Emerald Pademelon Press LLC click here

Peace Scientists click here

Dr Susanna loves the countries and the peoples of Africa

Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

Bookmark and Share
Helen Suzman
Above, picture from Wikipedia of Helen Suzman.

Below, Brooklyn celebrates the 15th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa, May 2009.
Nelson Mandela click here
Kabilagate in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo click here
South Africa news, videos and pictures click here.
Helen Suzman visited Australia. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v7m1 p0618

I remember hearing about Helen Suzman in the 1960s and 1970s from the newspapers, the radio, and from my mother.

Helen always seemed to be visiting Australia, trying to raise money and consciousness about getting rid of apartheid.

Helen was born in 1917, my mother in 1915: they were both young professional women during the second world war, and that shaped my mother's every action. And I am sure it did Helen: a South African Jew.

I did not meet Helen, but my mother certainly did, and more than once.

From 1969, my mother was one of 2 medical officers in the Repatriation offices next to Sydney Railway, when Mr Eternity was stalking the tunnels and footpaths writing "Eternity" in chalk in any surface that was free.

The other medical officer, who may have been my mother's boss, was a South African Jew named Dr Donald Kane. And he was very keen on Helen, and he and his friends brought her to Australia.

I like to think my mother gave money to Helen to fight apartheid. I am sure she did. How could she not.
Archbishop Tutu click here
Campaigner who single-handedly carried the anti-racism banner in South Africa's apartheid parliament

Excerpt from British obituary of Helen SuzmanJan Guardian. By Stanley Uys

Jan 01, 2009. Helen Suzman, who has died aged 91, single-handedly carried the anti-racism banner in South Africa's apartheid parliament, her star the brightest in the liberal firmament.

She was elected in 1953 and her solitary crusade lasted 13 years from 1961 to 1974. After that, the electoral tide took a sudden, fortunate turn, and she was joined by 7 Progressive Federal party colleagues. She continued as an MP until 1989, standing down amid accolades from all over the world.

That was the year in which President FW de Klerk lifted the ban on liberation movements and opened the prison gates to release, among others, Nelson Mandela. After that, the black liberation movement brought other heroes on to the stage – and, in the process, displaced the liberals. That is why Helen's "magnificent battle against apartheid", as Mandela described it, belonged to a earlier era.

South African Constitution click here
South African geologist Trevor Mulaudzi stopped kids at midday and asked why they were not in school. They told him the toilets were unusable, so they were going home for the day. That started Trevor on a new career, traveling around the world, explaining that the first step out of poverty can be taken with clean toilets. The Clean Shop MJoTA 2013 v6n1 p0531 click here

Celebrating Helen Suzman – A Bright Star in a Dark Chamber. F Antonie. MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p0618

Edited from an article published on May 2, 2013 by Francis Antonie, Director, Helen Suzman Foundation.


ANC, after her death on 1 January 2009, …. "remembers and respects the contribution of Suzman towards the demise of apartheid". The President himself attended her funeral.

I recall a few acknowledgments made by eminent leaders of the anti-Apartheid struggle regarding Suzman’s role.

In 1963, Albert Luthuli, then President of the ANC, wrote to Helen Suzman and expressed his “deep appreciation and admiration for your heroic and lone stand against a most reactionary Parliament...I most heartily congratulate you for your untiring efforts in a situation that would frustrate and benumb many. For ever remember, you are a bright Star in a dark Chamber...Not only ourselves – your contemporaries, but also posterity, will hold you in high esteem”. 

In 1964, Ruth First wrote to Helen Suzman, “I admire tremendously your sledge-hammer attack on [the 90 day detention law] and so many other vital issues. In the House at least you have to fight almost single handed and, apart from the scandal that the real anti-Nationalist fight has been whittled down to the efforts of one intrepid member, you seem to get in as many blows as any team could manage.”

In 1965, Veronica Sobukwe (wife of Robert Sobukwe) wrote describing her as a “parliamentarian of outstanding competence, whose integrity is unimpeachable and one who has made a name for herself as an untiring champion of liberty for all men, irrespective of race, colour or creed.”

In 1986, Winnie Mandela wrote (in a manuscript inscription on a book she gave her) to her “dearest friend Helen” and predicted, “one day the nation will honour your tremendous work – your fight for our human rights. You’ve always truly been one of us”.  In 2007, Winnie Madikizela–Mandela again wrote calling her a “wonderful faithful loyal friend...not only for me but every black South African whose life you have touched.”

In 1989, upon her retirement and while he was still incarcerated in Victor Verster Prison, Nelson Mandela paid tribute to Helen Suzman in the following terms “None can do more than her duty on earth. The countless tributes you received on your retirement from Parliament show that you acquitted yourself beyond words.”

Nelson Mandela went on to recognise her important role in the demise of Apartheid and the emergence of a democratic South Africa.  In 1995, in a further manuscript inscription, he described her as a “redoubtable veteran of many campaigns” and one “who has contributed impressively to the victory of the democratic forces of our country”.   In 1998, he wrote again, calling her “a world famous veteran freedom fighter who has earned enormous respect far beyond the borders of our country”.  In 2002, in a message for her 85th birthday, he paid tribute to her and noted that her “courage, integrity and principled commitment to justice have marked you as one of the outstanding figures in the history of public life in South Africa” and to let her know “how fortunate our country feels for having had you as part of its public life and politics”.

She stood up in Parliament and opposed Apartheid unequivocally.  For 13 years, she was the only MP to do so. She took on every Apartheid bill and subjected it to criticism of the most penetrating, detailed and coruscating kind.  Utterly fearless and devastatingly articulate, she confronted the scores of Nationalist MPs and bullying Ministers. She took them on, time after time, in speech after speech.

She opposed the Tricameral Parliament in 1983 because it sought to permanently disenfranchise Black South Africans. And, to avoid any doubt, her non-racial approach always extended to the franchise.

In the early days, her party was in favour of a franchise based on certain basic educational or property qualification. It was never one qualified by race, and from 1978, the party supported an entirely unqualified and universal adult franchise. Suzman was unwavering in her support for a Bill of Rights and the principle of the Rule of Law - defining features of our current liberal constitutional democracy.

It is a matter of public record that she not merely vociferously opposed the use of violence by the Apartheid regime, but repeatedly exposed in Parliament many of its worst instances.

Indeed, one of Helen Suzman’s most important contributions was to use her Parliamentary position to highlight the injustices and violence of Apartheid and bringing to light facts that would otherwise have been covered up. She did this by posing question after question in the House, thereby evading the censorship that then existed and bringing numerous iniquities to light.

When told by a Minister that her questions were an embarrassment to South Africa, she famously retorted that it was not her questions but his answers that were the cause of the embarrassment.  She also famously and repeatedly called for Nelson Mandela’s release – as for so many other political prisoners.  This is all recorded in Hansard.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, she used her Parliamentary position to assist the many victims of Apartheid.  With her famous expression “go and see for yourself”, she purposefully went to see what was happening, and she acted on what she saw - often with crucial implications for people’s lives.   In particular, she played an unparalleled role in visiting prisons and improving conditions for political prisoners. 


In Anthony Sampson’s Authorized Biography “Mandela... ‘It was an odd and wonderful sight’ he wrote, ‘to see this courageous woman peering into our cells and strolling around our courtyard’. Suzman reported back on the inhuman conditions...Soon afterwards...conditions began to improve.  The prisoners saw Suzman’s visit as a turning point: had she not come, wrote Neville Alexander, ‘there is no saying what might have happened’”.

Her all-important visits to Robben Island, and the improvements in the prisoners' lives that derived from them, were just the tip of the iceberg. She visited the banned and the banished.  She fought to obtain amnesties and passports and exit visas for countless political (and non political) prisoners. She pleaded for scores and scores of individuals who were victims of the pass laws and group areas and racial classification. She took up the causes of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. She used her powers of persuasion and threats of exposure with ministers and officials to obtain redress.  Her desk was a veritable harvest of the seeds of Apartheid and she worked tirelessly to try to help every one of those that sought her assistance, black, white or coloured, rich or poor, famous or unknown.

For her work in opposing Apartheid she was vilified and abused, in Parliament and out. Her phone was tapped, her letters opened; she received abusive phone calls and death threats. Hers was a difficult and immensely courageous stand.

Helen Suzman disagreed with the ANC about the use of violence and about the advisability of sanctions against South Africa.  Like many other eminent liberals, she believed that economic development combined with peaceful mass action and union activity would be the more appropriate and effective means to hasten the demise of Apartheid.

 In July 1989, Nelson Mandela wrote to Helen Suzman: “the consistency with which you have defended the basic values of freedom of the rule of law over the last three decades has earned you the admiration of many South Africans. A wide gap still exists between the mass democratic movement and your party with regard to the method of attaining those values. But your commitment to a non-racial democracy in a united South Africa has won you many friends in the extra-parliamentary movement”.

In the forward to her autobiography, Nelson Mandela records Helen Suzman’s “magnificent battle against apartheid” and, as recently as 2007, in a letter on her 90th birthday, he reiterated that her “role in the struggle against apartheid and in the building of democracy was an extraordinary one – one not easy to forget, and one that should never be forgotten”. 

We should never forget her extraordinary public role, a role which should be celebrated by everyone in our democracy.