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Remembering Helen Suzman

January 1st, 2009


The Liberal notes with sadness the passing of Helen Suzman (1917-2009), a contributor to the magazine and an honorary member of its advisory board.
Helen combined a rare degree of empathy with a steely determination. During apartheid, she demonstrated unflinching courage on a daily basis, and conducted herself with humility and dignity in the face of extreme hostility. Her commitment to the cause of liberalism, at a time when it was unfashionable, continues to be a beacon to all who champion freedom and justice.
Helen was fond of quoting this definition by her colleague Alan Paton:

By liberalism I don’t mean the creed of any party or any century. I mean a generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, an attempt to comprehend otherness, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal for the worth and dignity of man, a repugnance of authoritarianism and a love of freedom.

Nobody lived these ideals more than she, and we take inspiration from her example.

Benjamin Ramm


The following poems were commissioned to mark Helen's 90th birthday:
‘The Republic of Glassblowing’ by David Broadbridge
by George Szirtes

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