Monday, 18 January 2021

ANC Mourns the Passing of Stalwart and Veteran Ben Turok



The African National Congress is gravely saddened by the news of the passing of liberation struggle hero, stalwart and veteran of our movement Comrade Ben Turok. Comrade Ben Turok, 92, passed away during the early hours of Monday morning, 9 December 2019.

A trade union organiser, a fighter against the injustices of apartheid and an enduring voice for equality, Comrade Ben Turok dedicated his life to the struggle against racism and oppression. As a leader of the South African Communist Party and the Congress of Democrats, Comrade Turok played an invaluable role during the Defiance Campaign and as full-time organizer of the people’s parliament - the Congress of the People, which adopted the Freedom Charter, in June 1955.

Together with his wife, Mary Turok, and other comrades of his generation, Comrade Ben Turok rejected the privilege and comforts of the apartheid system that could have accrued to him on the basis of his skin colour. He chose instead to fight on the side of the oppressed masses. Comrade Ben was banned in 1955, arrested for treason in 1956 and in 1962 convicted under the Explosives Act.

Comrade Turok spent more than twenty years in exile, returning to South Africa in 1990. He lectured at universities across Africa, and presented papers at many conferences and seminars on African development. He has three degrees - in engineering, philosophy and political science.

After the dawn of democracy in 1994, Comrade Ben took up the mantle to serve as a member of the executive of the PWV region responsible for the implementation of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). From 1995, he served as Member of Parliament of a free and democratic South Africa, until his retirement in 2014.

Throughout this life, Comrade Turok was unwavering, vocal and unambiguous in his commitment to the freedom of the people of South Africa. He used his literary works, from editing the ANC’s Sechaba magazine, the more than 19 books he authored to his journal, the New Agenda, to drive and propagate the progressive policies for social and economic justice.

The African National Congress lowers its revolutionary banner in honour of an outstanding veteran of our struggle and sends its condolences to the Turok family. The ANC and South Africa is much poorer for the loss of this giant of our struggle who, until his very last days continued to follow the dictates of his conscience, remaining a vocal and faithful member of our movement.

Issued by

Ace Magashule

Secretary General

African National Congress


Pule Mabe

National Spokesperson

071 623 4975


Amaqhawe Building
42 Du Toitspan Road
City Centre
Tel:  053 831 2230
Fax: 053 832 4151


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