A Thorn In The Side..

The enmity was mutual.

In a typical parliamentary exchange in which Botha warned her against breaking the law, she said:

“I am not frightened of you. I never have been and I never will be. I think nothing of you.”

A principled, singular individual for 13 years, alone in the group in her contention.

Diminutive, elegant and indefatigable, she confronted the forbidding Afrikaner prime ministers — Hendrik F. Verwoerd, John Vorster and P. W. Botha — who became synonymous with apartheid’s repression of the black and mixed-race populations. She was dismissive of the death threats she received by telephone and in the mail, and undaunted in her showdowns with the men she described as apartheid’s leading “bullies,” who in turn dismissed her as a “dangerous subversive” and a “sickly humanist.”

Subversive Humanist indeed.

For decades, she was among the most venerated of white campaigners urging an end to racial rule, becoming known as a “cricket in the thorn tree” for her outspoken views.

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