DENNIS Brutus, who died at the weekend, was an African political icon and a global legend. He was an Ajax defying the lightning of despotism and an ardent foe of racism. He taught us not to be subservient at the cost of liberty.
If only time can judge the verity of his work, it is equally true that only contemporaries can appraise the verity of his character. While the future will find that his work will speak for itself, it will turn to the contemporaries to learn the qualities of this extraordinary man I was fortunate enough to have met years ago.
He was the intrepid vindicator of what he conceived to be the absolute rights of those whose cause he espoused. He was not addicted to subtlety and hated pretence. It was always manifest that he had definite principles and he had no sympathy for those without principle.
Brutus was patient, incorruptible, dignified and respectful. He was a single-minded civil rights champion, a courageous advocate of human rights. Committed to justice and equality, unstained by the double standards of politics, he carved out for himself the status of a fearless fighter and forthright advocate of social justice.
He was sincere and candid. He had intellect without arrogance, genius without pride. He was a colossus in African politics. It heartens me to see him celebrated so thoughtfully by so many in South Africa.
May he find a niche where there is everlasting peace. We mourn the loss of a true patriot. We will treasure his contributions which enabled us to secure the foundation of the temple of freedom.
Farouk Araie, Benoni