South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Interview Segment

Maria MacDiarmid (Mary) Burton and Diana Oliver interviewed by Ruendree Govinder
May 23, 2005 Cape Town, South Africa.


"She was going to chain herself to the railing of Parliament the next time someone died in detention, and it just happened that the next death was that of Johannes, who was 12." [2:14]

Diana Oliver of the Black Sash described how moving it was to attend the funeral of a youth, Johannes Spogter, who was killed in detention in the Eastern Cape (in July 1985), in order to show nonracial solidarity.

Mary Burton, born in Argentina, moved to South Africa in 1961 when she married a South African. She became active in the Black Sash in 1965 and served as its national president from 1985 to 1990. Burton became a South African citizen in 1994 and, in 1995, was appointed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served on its Human Rights Violations Committee.

Diana Oliver became a social worker so she could work with African people. She became active in the Black Sash in about 1980, when she left her full-time job to work in the Cape Town Advice Office.

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