As we who were around in the 1980s sat helplessly around the tv watching the outrages of South Africa apartheid system, one white woman in South African stood out like a beacon. She was probably the sole politician who was against apartheid at one time and she later used any opportunity to get her message across, from within Parliament to later the world media.
She was often called upon by the Australian media for her views. She came across as both pragmatic and idealistic, a rare combination. She was certainly courageous, even going so far as called the appalling Pik Botha a vicious little cat. It is a wonder she survived.
I just found this quote in The Age, An apartheid minister once told her in parliament: "You put these questions just to embarrass South Africa overseas", to which she replied: "It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa, it is your answers."
Recently she was quoted as saying that she is not terribly pleased with what replaced apartheid. Who could disagree, but then it is at least not Zimbabwe. She would be high on my very short list of public figures who I admire.
Helen Suzman died yesterday, aged 91.
Pic courtesy BBC.