‘Domestic help’ made Suzman stay in SA

2007-11-30 00:00

London — Veteran politician Helen Suzman says she long ago considered leaving South Africa, but the thought of having to make do overseas without household staff was among the reasons she decided to stay.

BBC’s Radio 4 broadcast a 40-minute tribute yesterday to mark Helen Suzman’s 90th birthday.

Asked about her present lifestyle, Suzman said she is living comfortably. “I’m not a millionaire; in any case, not to my knowledge.”

She recalled that she wanted to leave when the National Party came to power in 1948.

She said she tried to persuade her late husband, Moses, a medical doctor with good contacts in the United States, to leave, but he didn’t want to know about it.

“So, I thought to myself: you’re a clever girl. You can do something. You can become more involved [politically].”

She said the realisation that she would have to make do overseas without household staff, finally convinced her not to emigrate.

“Very selfishly, I wondered who would do all the housework. That clinched it for me, and I stayed and became more involved.”

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