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Sunday 19 November 2017

Anti-apartheid campaigner Kadar Asmal dies

Sam Smyth

CIVIL rights campaigner and anti-apartheid activist Kadar Asmal died in Cape Town yesterday, aged 76.

He had led the campaign in Ireland against apartheid and went on to hold two ministerial posts in South Africa.

Asmal left Ireland in the early 1990s, returning to South Africa, where he was a senior figure in the African National Congress.

Although he served as a minister in the Mandela government from 1994 to 2004, he regularly returned to Dublin.

After leaving his native South Africa in 1960, he helped found the anti-apartheid movement in London, before moving to Dublin. He lectured in Trinity College for 25 years.

As a founder of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) with former President Mary Robinson, he championed the rights of workers in Dunnes Stores when they refused to handle South African oranges.

In Trinity College, he specialised in human rights, labour and international law and from 1980 to 1986 he was dean of the faculty of arts.

He met his wife Louise in Dublin. They had two sons and two grandchildren.

The ICCL expressed "profound regret at Professor Asmal's passing". Mark Kelly, its director, said: "Kadar was a truly exceptional person. Our thoughts are with his family."

Irish Independent

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