President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his condolences to the family of activist and writer Achmat Dangor who passed away on Sunday.

The President described the passing of the 71-year-old acclaimed author and political activist as “a loss to the literary, arts and culture fraternity and the country at large”.

“Achmat Dangor was born into a family whose members have played a leading role in this country’s history and development. I convey my deepest sympathies to the family who have lost a son, a brother and a father,” said President Ramaphosa.

Dangor became involved in the liberation struggle in his youth and played a leading role in mobilising the literary fraternity against apartheid and promoting protest writing by black authors locally and internationally.

He was one of the founders of the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW) and published a number of novels and short story collections. He was the recipient of the Herman Charles Bosman Prize and in 2004 one of his novels, Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

“Among the many lessons we draw from his life is the importance of supporting the arts and culture as key pillars of a country’s development; as well as the role of artists as our national conscience,” said President Ramaphosa.

Following the end of apartheid, Dangor was active in civil society and headed the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“Achmat Dangor will be remembered for powerful and inspired writing that gave a voice to the voiceless and captured the bitter conditions under which our people suffered.

“We honour him for his sterling contribution, may he be granted Jannatul Firdous (paradise),” said the President.

Dangor will be buried in accordance with Muslim rituals.

(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)

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