Hamba Kahle, Dullah!
Early on Saturday morning Dullah Omar, South Africa's Transport Minister, passed away after a long bout with Hodgkins disease. Omar was buried on Saturday in the Muslim tradition. A longtime member of the anti-apartheid Unity Movement, Omar moved on to the United Democratic Front, which served as the main locus of resistance on the ground in the 1980s. In July 1987 he was elected UDF chairman in the Western Cape, and he warned against trying to work within the system to bring about democratic transformation. At one point, referring to the morally bankrupt attempt of the National Party to implement a"Tricameral Parliament" that would give seats (but no real power) to Indians and"Coloureds" but not to blacks, Omar famously said"To think you can use the Tricameral system in this fashion is like trying to cross the river on the back of a crocodile." Omar is one of the hundreds, indeed thousands, of important anti-apartheid activists who sometimes get hidden in the western eye behind the luminous presence of Nelson Mandela. Sadly many of these great warriors for justice will be passing on in the coming years. Hamba Kahle (Go well) Dullah.