Human rights lawyer Priscilla Jana has died

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Priscilla Jana, speaking at a conference at the Landsdowne Road Hotel in Belfast on 10 December 2007.
Priscilla Jana, speaking at a conference at the Landsdowne Road Hotel in Belfast on 10 December 2007.
Paul Faith - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images
  • Human rights lawyer Priscilla Jana, described as one of SA's "most distinguished daughters who served her nation with distinction", has died.
  • Her clients included former president Nelson Mandela and freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu.
  • Jana served as an MP from 1994 to 1999.


Celebrated human rights lawyer Priscilla Jana has died.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement on Saturday night: "The passing of Priscilla Jana has robbed the liberation movement and the people of South Africa of one of its most distinguished daughters who served her nation with distinction. From an early age, Priscilla Jana developed an awareness of the brutality and injustice of apartheid."

Jana served as an MP from 1994 to 1999, was South African ambassador to the Netherlands and Ireland, and served as the deputy chairperson of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). She was also one of former president Nelson Mandela's attorneys while he was imprisoned on Robben Island.

She also represented Solomon Mahlangu and played a role in creating international awareness about Mahlangu's execution.

"Her clients included some of the key political figures as well as the defenceless and downtrodden. Her determination to fight the vicious and evil system of apartheid saw her joining the underground networks of the ANC," Mabe said.

The SAHRC said in a statement on Saturday: "South Africa has lost a giant, who sacrificed herself selflessly for us all to enjoy the fruit of the constitutional democracy that we enjoy today... She continued to give of herself, well up until the age of 76, still labouring tirelessly to substantively turn South Africa into a country where all people who live in it are equal, enjoy their freedom and innate human dignity.

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