Anti-apartheid activist Max Coleman dies

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(Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / John Liebenberg)
(Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / John Liebenberg)
  • Anti-apartheid activist Max Coleman died on Sunday.
  • He and his wife, Audrey, started the Detainees Parents Support Committee in the 1980s.
  • They received the Order of Luthuli last year.

Anti-apartheid activist and former human rights commissioner Max Coleman has died.

His family released a statement on Monday morning confirming his death.

A statement from the family read:

We regret to inform you that Dr Max Coleman passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, 16 January 2022, aged 95. He is mourned and will be forever missed by his loving wife, Audrey, sons Brian, Neil, Keith and Colin, their partners and children.

"There will be a private funeral service followed by a public memorial to celebrate his life. Details will be announced in due course."

Coleman and his wife started the Detainees Parents Support Committee in 1981 after the apartheid regime detained their own sons for anti-apartheid activities. The committee helped detainees with food, clothes and legal representation, and supported their parents.

In November, President Cyril Ramaphosa awarded the Colemans the Order of Luthuli.

In a statement after receiving the award, the Colemans said the freedoms South Africans fought for were not the freedoms enjoyed today.

"Instead, unemployment, poverty, racism, inequality and violence are alive and well. The freedoms Nelson Mandela and the ANC so bravely fought for, the vision of egalitarian, non-racial democracy, is today but a flickering glimmer of the light that shone brightly on 27 April 1994," read the statement.

"State capture and thuggery have corrupted not only the state, but the minds and soul of the ANC. They have attempted to steal the freedom, vision and hopes of the nation. They cannot be allowed to succeed.

"The ANC must rid itself of corrupt elements, the democratic state must be restored to its historic duty to put South Africans first. To awaken the spirit of 'ubuntu', to reimagine the Mandela-led movement for non-racialism, inclusion and democracy."

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela also reacted to the news of Coleman's death on Twitter.

She tweeted:

Sad to note the passing of yet another selfless contributor to our political liberation. Heartfelt condolences to the Coleman family. Do find solace in, among others, his recent recognition through a National Order award. May the soul of Max Coleman rest in peace.

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