President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed “heartfelt condolences” on the death of acclaimed author, journalist and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Lewin, who died on Wednesday at the age of 79.
“We have lost an incredible writer and a valiant soldier who fought fearlessly for human rights and the justice and freedom that are the hallmarks of our democracy,” said Ramaphosa in a statement issued by the presidency on Thursday night.
“His fighting spirit and humanity will forever be remembered by those he touched through his life, actions and also his written words. We send our sincere condolences to his family, friends and relatives. May his soul rest in peace.”
Lewin worked as a journalist at the Natal Witness, Drum Magazine and the Golden City Post.
He later became director of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg and served as a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission committee on human rights violations in Gauteng.
He won the 2003 Olive Schreiner Prize for his prison memoir, “Bandit Out of Jail” and in 2012 won the Alan Paton Award for another personal memoir, “Stones Against the Mirror”.
Under apartheid, Lewin served a full prison sentence for sabotage and left South Africa on a “permanent exit permit” in 1971 to live in exile in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.