Renowned South African poet and activist Dennis Brutus died in his sleep on December 26th in Cape Town. He was 85 years old.
Brutus was a leading opponent of the apartheid state. He helped secure South Africa’s suspension from the Olympics, eventually forcing the country to be expelled from the Games in 1970. Arrested in 1963, he was sentenced to eighteen months of hard labor on Robben Island, off Cape Town, with Nelson Mandela.
“In his last days, Brutus was fully engaged, advocating social protest against those responsible for climate change, and promoting reparations to black South Africans from corporations that benefited from apartheid,” writes Patrick Bond. “The memory of Dennis Brutus will remain everywhere there is struggle against injustice. Uniquely courageous, consistent and principled, Brutus bridged the global and local, politics and culture, class and race, the old and the young, the red and green…Given his role as a world-class poet, Brutus showed that social justice advocates can have both bread and roses.”
Dennis Brutus was a frequent guest on Democracy Now! over the years. A collection of his appearances is listed below.