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Author and political activist Achmat Dangor dies aged 71

By: stagedoorscribbler - September 7, 2020

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photograph by Hattie Miles

We are sad to hear that Achmat Dangor, the author, political activist and former CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation has died. He was 71.
Dangor studied literature at Rhodes University and as an award winning writer was best known for novels that included 1997’s Kafka’s Curse which won the Herman Charles Bosman prize while his 2003 novel Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. There were also several collections of poetry and a short stories.
As a young activist in the 1970s Dangor co-founded the group Black Thoughts and campaigned against the racially segregated eduction system of the apartheid era.  The group also visited the townships promoting the books and writings of authors from Africa and other developing nations.
Dangor was also one of the founding members of the Congress of South African Writers and the brother of ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte. Committed in bother his writing and activism to highlight the cruelty and absurdity of racial inequality, he served as CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation from 2007 to 2013.
He was also one of the early advocates of the need to take action to combat South Africa’s emerging HIV/AIDS crisis and in that capacity  served as a director at UNAIDS and the World AIDS Campaign, He also worked alongside church leaders including Archbishop Desmond Tutu to establish the largest black-led foundation in South Africa.
 In a statement following the  announcement of his death the ANC said ‘in Achmat Dangor, the country has lost an important voice, but we can take comfort that his light will keep shining through his books and other writings’.