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Helen Suzman

Anti-apartheid activist

Died when: 91 years 55 days (1093 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio


Helen Suzman

Helen Suzman, OMSG, DBE (née Gavronsky; 7 November 1917 – 1 January 2009) was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician.She represented a succession of liberal and centre-left opposition parties during her 36-year tenure in the whites-only, National Party-controlled House of Assembly of South Africa at the height of the apartheid era.

She hosted the meeting that founded the Progressive Party in 1959, and was its only MP in the 160-member House for a period of 13 years.

During that 13-year period she was the only Member of the South African Parliament consistently and unequivocally to oppose all apartheid legislation.

Suzman was instrumental in improving prison conditions for members of the banned African National Congress including Nelson Mandela, despite her reservations about Mandela's revolutionary policies, and was also known for using her parliamentary privilege to evade government censorship and pass information to the media about the worst abuses of apartheid.

She was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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