Social justice legend dies

2018-11-26 10:51
Apartheid struggle icon and author Paddy Kearney.

Apartheid struggle icon and author Paddy Kearney. (Ian Carbutt)

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A legend in the social justice world died on Friday.

Tributes poured in for Pietermaritzburg-born apartheid struggle icon and author, Father Paddy Kearney, who died of a heart attack in a Durban hospital after he had complained of feeling unwell.

Kearney is the founder of Diakonia Council of Churches and the chairperson of the Denis Hurley Centre.

Denis Hurley Centre spokesperson, Illa Thompson, said Kearney had been rushed to hospital after complaining that he was not feeling well.

“His brother thought it was pneumonia and he later died of a heart attack. He was meant to go to Cape Town to launch the biography of Archbishop Denis Hurley [that] he had written. He had already launched the book in Durban and in Johannesburg,” she said.

Thompson said there would be a service held at Emmanuel Cathedral, Durban, in honour of Kearney.

“Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course, probably next week,” she said.

Kearney is the author of Guardian of the Light, a biography of Archbishop Hurley.

Kearney was recently awarded the eThekwini Living Legends award and was awarded a honorary doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier this year, Kearney was awarded the Bene Merenti Medal by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the Archbishop of Durban.

He had been working as the project co-ordinator at the Denis Hurley Centre, housed at the Emmanuel Cathedral in the Durban CBD, where the centre runs a training programme for the homeless and unemployed and offers shelter to newly-arrived refugees. Through their clinic they offer free medical care.

Kearney moved to Glenwood in Durban from Maritzburg over 40 years ago.

Kearney had worked with the Denis Hurley Centre since 2008. Before that he headed the Diakonia Council of Churches for close to 20 years.

People took to social networks to pay tribute to Kearney.

Gay Redman posted: “Rest in peace eThekwini legend Paddy Kearney. You epitomise integrity and humility. A huge loss to South Africa.”

Tiara Ray posted: “It is with deepest sadness that I share the passing away, this afternoon [Friday], of father Paddy Kearney, apartheid era struggle hero. Hamba kahle comrade Paddy.”

Allan Taylor posted: “Very sad to hear that Paddy Kearney died this afternoon [Friday] in Durban.

“He was the founder of Diakonia, an author of two books on Archbishop Denis Hurley and chairperson of Denis Hurley Centre. He will be missed by all who knew him. A humble and yet a great South African.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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