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February 28, 2007

Mac Maharaj

Mac Maharaj was one of the major forces of the ANC leadership through the end of apartheid and the transition to the new government. He was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island for 12 years, and then led the underground military and political efforts of the ANC in the 1980s. He was re-arrested in 1990 for his work with Operation Vula, and then served in the discussions about the transition and formation of the new constitution. After 1994, he became the Minister of Transport for South Africa.

Laura had met Mac a few years ago at her college, so we called him up and he invited us over for lunch. We ended up spending six hours there with him and his wife Zarina, talking about everything from present day movements and politics to his family’s life when he was underground to all of his projects now that he has retired. His biography is about to be published (seen here), and he is now hoping to use his apartheid experience in facilitating discussions among the factions in Iraq. Zarina is a firecracker as well, and she has also just published her autobiography, focusing on the emotional turmoil of the families in the struggle.

After lunch, Mac toured us around his house telling the stories of the photos all around the house… birthday parties with Mandela, ANC leaders, apartheid-time artists, the celebration of the new constitution, and many newspaper clippings and posters from when he was in jail. Oh, and here is the ballot from the 1994 election. My favorite parties: SOCCER (Sports Organization for Collective Contributions and Equal Rights) and KISS (the Keep It Straight and Simple Party).

1 comment:

Raina said...

you are an inspiration.
yes you are.
thank you!