'Tireless activist' Esther Barsel dies in Johannesburg

The African National Congress has lost a “tireless political activist” with the death of stalwart Esther Barsel, it said on Tuesday.

Barsel died in the Donald Gordon Clinic, Parktown, Johannesburg, on Monday. She was 83.

ANC spokesperson Jesse Duarte described Barsel as a tireless political activist who remained engaged in the struggle until the end of her life.

“We pay homage to this gallant revolutionary who was unwavering in her commitment and dedication to the struggle for a democratic and just South Africa,” Duarte said in a statement.

Duarte said the ANC would treasure Barsel’s contribution to the struggle for liberation and the building of democracy.

The Young Communist League (YCL) also expressed condolences to the Barsel family on Tuesday.

YCL spokesperson Castro Ngobese commended Barsel for defying all odds and giving her life to the struggle for liberation.

“She sacrificed her own luxurious and better life given the privileges enjoyed by the tiny white minority in our country during the apartheid years and committed herself in the struggle of the oppressed,” said Ngobese.

Barsel was part of the generation that revived the YCL in the 1940s, which was banned by the National Party government in 1950, said Ngobese.

“When the YCL was re-launched after 50 years in 2003, Barsel served as a guiding light and a historical reference on the strategic role that needs to be played by the YCL,” he said.

The South African Communist Party also joined other political parties in sending condolences to the Barsel family.

The SACP said it had lost a giant who was selfless and brave.

“The SACP is pained and saddened by Barsel’s untimely departure. She had dedicated her life to serving people of our country,” said SACP spokesperson Malesela Maleka. - Sapa

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