South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday sent condolences to the family of author Achmat Dangor following the late activist’s demise at the weekend.According to the president, the passing of the 71-year-old acclaimed author and political activist was “a loss to the literary, arts and culture fraternity, and the country at large.”
“Achmat Dangor was born into a family whose members have played a leading role in this country’s history and development,” Ramaphosa said.
He said Dangor, who died on Sunday, became involved in South Africa’s liberation struggle in his youth, playing a leading role in mobilising the literary fraternity against apartheid, and promoting protest writing by black authors locally and internationally.
“Among the many lessons we draw from his life is the importance of supporting the arts and culture as key pillars of a country’s development – as well as the role of artists as our national conscience,” Ramaphosa said.
“Achmat Dangor will be remembered for powerful and inspired writing that gave a voice to the voiceless and captured the bitter conditions under which our people suffered.”
Dangor was one of the founders of the Congress of South African Writers and published a number of novels and short story collections.
He was the recipient of the Herman Charles Bosman Prize, and in 2004 one of his novels, “Bitter Fruit”, was shortlisted for Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize.
Following the end of apartheid, Dangor was active in civil society and headed the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the presidency said.