Anti-apartheid activist dies in Germany

Veteran anti-apartheid activist Eric Singh dies in Berlin, days before his planned return to South Africa

(Editor: Anli Serfontein, South African journalist in Berlin)

Veteran anti-apartheid activist Eric Singh (81) dies in Berlin on Tuesday 11 February 2014, only days before he was due to fly to South Africa to spend his last days with his closest relatives.

© Veteran anti-apartheid activist Eric Singh (81) dies in Berlin. The South African citizen was responsible for the magazine production of Sechaba the ANC mouthpiece in exile. He was also for many years the face of the ANC in East Germany

© Veteran anti-apartheid activist Eric Singh (81) dies in Berlin. The South African citizen was responsible for the magazine production of Sechaba the ANC mouthpiece in exile. He was also for many years the face of the ANC in East Germany

Singh a native of Durban was active in the South African trade union movement in the fifties and sixties. As the “printer” of the banned African National Congress, in the early sixties he several times fell foul of the apartheid authorities and was detained without trial under the draconian 90-day detention laws of the day. After the ANC of which he as a member was banned, he too was served with a banning order. In 1965, while on bail after appealing against his sentence for refusing to turn state witness in a political trial, he fled South Africa and joined the ANC in exile as part of its operation.

Singh arrived in the former East Berlin in 1967 and until his death lived in the eastern part of the city. From 1968 onwards until the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, he was responsible for the production of Sechaba the ANC mouthpiece in exile. He was also for many years the face of the ANC in East Germany, which afforded him a close working relationship with the ANC leadership in exile and especially Oliver Tambo, whom he till his death held in high regard.

In recent years he was a regular participant as a political pundit and commentator on southern African affairs in Berlin.

Eric Singh leaves behind his wife of thirty years, Karin and two adult daughters living in South Africa.

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