South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Interview Segment

Yusuf Omar interviewed by Bob Vassen
September 6, 2006 East Lansing, Michigan, United States.


"We carried his coffin for miles. There were cops all over watching that procession... That was my awakening. My mischievousness ended that day." [5:54]

Yusuf Omar was deeply affected when Ahmed Timol, his high school science teacher, was brutally tortured and then killed in detention by being thrown from the 10th floor window of the prison at John Vorster Square.

Yusuf Omar was born in 1960 and grew up in Fordsburg, an Indian township of Johannesburg. He recalls the security police beating up his father in front of him when he was five years old. Ahmed Timol, his high school science teacher, had a big impact on Omar. In 1971, Timol was detained and thrown out the 10th floor window of the prison by the police; Omar helped to carry his casket in a large political funeral. Omar works for the Department of Foreign Affairs and currently is the South African Consul General in Chicago.

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