On 16 May, Jacana Media along with the University of Pretoria (UP) hosted the launch of the book titled Beyond Fear: Reflections of a Freedom Fighter by the late Ebrahim Ebrahim. It was held at the UP’s Future Africa Campus and was a celebration of a man’s life whose fight against the apartheid regime is a call for people living in a post-apartheid South Africa to recall the past and continue thriving towards a better future.
The event was attended by the Dean of the Humanities Faculty, Prof. Vasu Reddy, Vice Chancellor Prof. Tawana Kupe, Dr Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the late author’s wife Shannon Ebrahim and his daughter Sarah Ebrahim. Prof. Kupe described the event as a “celebration of a life that was dedicated to service and overturning injustice.” He aspires for the book to impact the lives of students and generations yet to come.
Prof. Kupe would like every young South African to take away the spirit of “resilience” from the book of Ebrahim Ebrahim as a subversive actor against the apartheid regime.
Dr Naledi Pandor knew Mr. Ebrahim ‘as a member of the ANC and Umkhonto We Sizwe, a member of Parliament and as a fellow member of the cabinet’ and often called him “Ebie”. She expressed how Ebrahim used language that was very simplistic which made it easy to relate to his story, and that his voice in the book was very engaging and positive further making it enjoyable to read.
She further went on to say that she believes that “this book is an important account of apartheid policy and practice” and from it one can see that “Ebrahim understood the essence for the struggles for freedom.”
Dr Sthembile Mbethe, a senior lecturer in the department of Political Science, led the conversation between herself and Shannon Ebrahim, the wife of the late author. Dr Mbethe stated how the works of the author have influenced her own work on South African foreign policy and therefore felt honoured to be facilitating the conversation. The conversation ended on a high note with Dr Mbethe passionately expressing that the book must be shared with younger generations, and that she aims to share what she has learnt from the works of Ebrahim Ebrahim with her students.
Sicelo Ngwenya, a SASCO member and one of the students who attended the launch, found the launch to be very eye-opening and said that it begs the question of “how far we are willing to go to achieve that which is for the good of the society which ensures our freedom and liberty.” Ngwenya continued to say how disappointing the current state of South African politics is, which requires an introspection of what the likes of Ebrahim Ebrahim fought so hard for.
Shannon Ebrahim described her late husband as a family man that has always wanted children and later lived for his two kids. She expressed how he wanted the book to reach younger generations because he knew that a lack of political education exists in those younger than 40 years. Ebrahim’s daughter Sarah also shared that she feels a great sense of having to continue sharing her dads legacy with the rest of the world.
Beyond Fear: Reflections of a Freedom of a Freedom Fighter is an autobiography about the life of the late Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim as an Indian living in apartheid South Africa. The book accounts for Ebrahim’s struggles against the apartheid regime, yet at the same time it is a book dedicated to his two children, Sarah and Kadin. The book is a politically charged book with important accounts of Mr. Ebrahim’s life that is fundamental to understanding apartheid regime and is an asset to the growing history of South Africa. Prof. Kupe has assured students that the book will be made available for all UP students in the library.