Eleanor Kasrils a dedicated revolutionary

ELEANOR Kasrils died suddenly this week. She was the wife of former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, born in 1936 and joined the Congress of Democrats in 1960 after the Sharpeville massacre.

ELEANOR Kasrils died suddenly this week. She was the wife of former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, born in 1936 and joined the Congress of Democrats in 1960 after the Sharpeville massacre.

She took part in Umkhonto we Sizwe activities in Durban and was arrested in 1963. She went into exile, which lasted 30 years, after escaping from custody with ANC leader Ronnie Kasrils.

Her close friend Toni Strasburg said they met in exile in 1968.

"We each had two boys and they would wave goodnight to each other across the street every night," Strasburg said.

"She was my best friend. She was warm, kind and never indiscreet. She was happy for Ronnie to be in the limelight. She was very brave but would not talk about her escape from custody."

Strasburg is the daughter of struggle stalwarts Rusty and Hilda Bernstein. She said Eleanor was completely committed to the struggle but never wanted to be more than a foot soldier.

"Her passing was a terrible shock because she was so fine and well."

She joined the liberation movement in Tanzania and Britain, working with ANC president Oliver Tambo. She later became a geologist and technician and worked in London for the Inner London Education Authority.

The couple returned to South Africa in 1992 and again Eleanor continued her revolutionary work - towards the 1994 democratic elections and beyond.

Eleanor leaves behind her husband, two sons, Andrew and Christopher, a daughter Brigitte and two grandchildren.

Tributes poured in immediately after she died.

"We pray for the family to remain strong during this difficult time. Eleanor joins the galaxy of South African heroes and heroines who have departed," President Jacob Zuma said.

"We are proud of the role she has played in the evolution of our democratic society. Yet another spear has fallen, let us pick it up and run with it in manner that would make Eleanor proud."

The Congress of the People extended its deepest condolences to her husband, daughter andsons.

"A committed fighter for liberation and transformation, Eleanor made her own unique contribution to the liberation movement. Whether as an activist, a mother or a wife, Eleanor's commitment was manifest in all she did."

"Cope salutes this gallant freedom fighter. Long may her spirit live on in the movement for strengthening democracy and transforming our society."

l A memorial service will be held on Saturday in Cape Town from noon.

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