Pete Smith sent us this tribute to the outstanding struggle veteran Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, who died on 6 December 2021.
It was a great honour to work with him in Swaziland during late 1985 and early 1986, sharing two safe houses with him. I will never forget arriving home from teaching to find him studying Kim Il-sung. Ebie had a clear understanding of Marxism in helping me to further understand the struggle of his people and was an outstanding internationalist. I am not surprised that he initiated the joint statement in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn having had the whip withdrawn by Sir Keir Starmer.
I first met him by accident. I was staying with June and Michael Stephen and arrived back early from teaching to see him smiling in talking to June and Michael around the dining table. They had just smuggled him in from South Africa in their Combi. Even then I did not know that I would spend the rest of my time in Swaziland working with him and Ronnie Kasrils never told me of his intention that should happen in sending me to Swaziland.
The last time I met him was in 1994 as his guest, him being an M.P., over tea and cakes in the Parliament canteen in Cape Town. He had, still having his familiar smile, already recognised the potential of corruption then and was of the firm opinion, as Ronnie Kasrils puts it, that it had to be challenged from inside.
He certainly deserves the epitaph quoting from the book How the Steel Was Tempered by Nikolai Ostrovsky:
“Man's dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying, he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world──the fight for the Liberation of Mankind”