Anti-apartheid activist and award-winning author Hugh Lewin dies

Hugh Lewin (Penguin Random House)
Hugh Lewin (Penguin Random House)

South African author, journalist and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Lewin died on Wednesday.

Lewin died at his home in Killarney, Johannesburg. He was 79 years old.

He worked as a journalist at the Natal Witness, Drum and Golden City Post. After being found guilty of sabotage in 1964, he was jailed for seven years.

Upon his release in 1971, he left the country on a "permanent departure permit", according to his biography on publisher Penguin Random House's website.

He spent 10 years in exile in London, followed by 10 years in Zimbabwe.

After his return to South Africa, he became director of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg. He also served as a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission committee on human rights violations in Gauteng, in the 1990s.

He won the 2003 Olive Schreiner Prize for his prison memoir Bandiet Out of Jail. While in prison, he secretly recorded his experiences and those of his fellow inmates on the pages of his Bible. On his release, these writings were published in London in 1974 and remained banned in South Africa until it was published in 1989.

He also won the 2012 Alan Paton Award for Stones Against the Mirror, a personal memoir. The judges described the book as a "beautifully written and intensely personal story of friendship, betrayal and struggle".


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