A Man Who Left His Mark
Deaglán de Bréadún
The passing of Kader Asmal is a huge loss to South Africa, Ireland and the world. His achievements were great and, despite failing health, he remained active and outspoken until his death this week at the age of 76 years.
Much has been written about his role in establishing and building up the Anti-Apartheid Movement here in Ireland but he also played a significant role in Irish domestic politics.
He was a key figure in the founding of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties at a time in the 1970s when it looked as if Ireland was heading in a very repressive direction, with allegations of “heavy gang” police brutality towards suspected republican paramilitaries.
Kader Asmal also played an important role in efforts to promote peace, human rights and good governance in Northern Ireland. He was a man of many parts.
When he returned to South Africa, he became a very active and successful government minister but in recent years had been highly-critical of political trends and developments that were not to his liking.
His passing is a cause of great sorrow to his many friends here in Ireland and our sympathies and thoughts are with his loved ones, most especially his wife, Louise, who was his indispensable and tireless companion in so many great political endeavours.