Helen Suzman

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Suzman, Helen

Suzman, Helen, 1917–2009, South African politician and anti-apartheid activist, b. Helen Gavronsky, grad. Univ. of Witwatersrand (1940). The daughter of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, she taught at her alma mater (1945–52) and was elected (1953) to parliament as a member of the opposition United party. Unhappy with the party's tolerance of racial segregation, she helped found (1959) the liberal Progressive party. Fearless and outspoken in debate and the only member of her party in parliament from 1961 to 1974, Suzman was long the lone voice in parliament openly opposed to apartheid. In 1967 she first visited the Robben Island prison, where many black activists were held. She met and befriended Nelson Mandela there, returned frequently, and worked to improve the prison's appalling conditions. Suzman retired from parliament in 1989 and served as president of the South African Institute of Race Relations (1991–93) and a member of the Human Rights Commission (1995–96).


See her memoir, In No Uncertain Terms (1993); study by M. Pimstone (1973, repr. 2005).

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References in periodicals archive ?
With this award, which has been given since 1985, De Lima joins such world luminaries as Vaclav Havel (Czechoslovakia), Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Helen Suzman (South Africa), Mary Robinson (Ireland), as well as our own Corazon Aquino.
Readers will hear the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman who fought for democracy in the corrupt military regime of Burma / Myanmar, as well as Helen Suzman, a South African Member of Parliament who joined forces with Nelson Mandela to fight apartheid.
Read about Sophie and Hans Scholl who distributed anti-government pamphlets in Nazi Germany, Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on a bus, Helen Suzman who fought apartheid in South Africa and other equally inspirational stories.
Of Rosa Parks, who successfully challenged segregation laws in the US, we are told: "She'd never been a fighter on the front lines, she'd always worked quietly behind the scenes." Likewise, when Helen Suzman first decided to run as a member of Parliament in Apartheid South Africa, her thoughts were these: "I'll never win, so there's no harm in trying." Was she ever wrong!
Verketter die Sappe, Progge en Helen Suzman. Hoe kon ons weet?
His concern was echoed by, among others, the Helen Suzman Foundation which highlighted the societal and fiscal impact of the proposals.
You have to deal with the cards you've got." Mr Baker also the coalition to that of late South African anti-apartheid MP Helen Suzman.
DEATHS BILL Stone, one of three World War I survivors, 108, Dai Llewellyn, 62, John Mortimer, 85, Patrick (Prisoner) McGoohan, 80, sixties songster Dave Dee, 66, TV's David Vine, 74, and Reg Gutteridge, 84, author John Updike, 76, cricket scorer Bill Frindall, 69, and anti-apartheid campaigner Helen Suzman, 91.