By Iqbal Jassat
Saddened as we are by the passing of one of South Africa’s literary giants, we are heartened by the everlasting legacy of Ahmed Essop’s gigantic scholarship inscribed in the numerous award winning books he authored.
His brilliant works which not only unearthed the deep insights of a profound thought leader, but also recorded a crucial commitment to human rights and freedom, will continue to inspire generations across the world.
Whether in essays or short stories, novels or poetry, reviews, critiques or biographies, Ahmed Essop’s contribution stands out in the numerous books he authored. The magical mastery of his pen is revealed in the way he added masterpieces of literary works especially during the oppressive conditions of apartheid when words were deemed subversive and subjected to banning and censorship.
Unassuming yet unafraid to court controversy, Ahmed Essop’s social activism placed him head and shoulder above other writers. Whether it was to confront the injustice of racism, disparity in education, American imperialism, Israeli barbarity, or to challenge his peers and students to never forfeit values of truth and justice, his iconic role will live on.
Ahmed Essop’s humility and simple life may be difficult to emulate in an age where materialism seems to have trumped modesty, yet the lessons to be drawn from his life provides unique challenges for human rights activists engaged in social justice issues.
May his legacy live on.