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(en) South African anarchist dies in prison: Abel Ramarope, political prisoner turned anarchist

Date Tue, 29 Nov 2005 20:55:00 +0200

Africa"You must be aware that we are victimised by our fear to stand
up for what is entitled us as people whether in prison or outside
prison. We are firstly determined to challenge any barbaric or
tyrannic system if it needs be. Change is a must; and it shall come
and be effected by those who needs to see it. Well we need to be
strong even when we face incarceration. We cannot afford to be
sacrificed at the expense of the capitalists. We fought for the
transformation of this land, and yet we are deprived of the right to
enjoy the fruits of our labour. Now our votes are seen as a priority
but our release as political activists/ prisoners is not important to them."
- Abel Ramarope, political prisoner turned anarchist, died September 2005

It is always saddening to hear of someone dying in a prison, with
cold concrete and steel preventing them from being comforted by
loved ones in their time of need. However, and not to place any more
value on one life over another, but when I hear of yet another
anarchist, whom I believe often have a more acute awareness of
suffering and a stronger longing for freedom and justice than do
most people, having died in a prison cell, I am filled with a sadness

Abel was imprisoned as a member of the Pan-African Congress for
his role in the struggle against apartheid but, through contact with
the South African chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross in early 2004
he began to develop a great interest in anarchism and devoured any
reading material he could get hold of. Despite a decade of
humiliation and abuse at the hands of the authorities, when Abel
became an anarchist almost two years ago he was filled with a hope
and belief in a better future that is rare; especially in someone who
has spent so long in prison, having been forgotten both by his former
organisation and the very people whose freedom he fought for.

In prison he began to organise a clandestine reading and study group
on anarchism, educating prisoners about the real nature of the prison
system, and set about organising to expose the corruption of the
ANC and the Amnesty Commission; which denied amnesty to
political prisoners and freedom fighters of the apartheid era who
were not affiliated to the ANC leadership or were not part of the
South African Police or South African National Defense Force
during the times of struggle.

Abel was an inspiration to fight back against the injustice of the
system if ever I met one; I remember when he told me not to bring
him anything that would make his stay in prison more comfortable,
as it made him feel stronger and more of an anarchist to suffer. And
not to buy him anything from the prison tuck-shop as he didn't want
to contribute in any way to enriching the corrupt prison wardens and
Department of Correctional Services. Instead he asked for a kettle,
which the ABC supplied, that he could use to drink hot water which
he said helped his asthma. I only hope it made his last months more

Of course one can be sure that if Abel hadn't had to endure a decade
behind bars, surrounded by concrete and steel, trying to survive on a
worthless diet and if he had had access to the right medication, he
may have had the strength to fight his sickness as he did his
oppressors. That is why, when the prison warden told us that Abel
had died in September from asthma I was furious. Maybe I wanted
to cry, but my tears have dried up like the blood of so many who
sacrificed their lives and freedom for a better future. Anyway, we
don't only morn for the dead...turn anger and sadness into

It was an honor and a privilege to have know Abel and, inspired by
his enthusiasm and commitment to exposing and expelling the lies
about the role and function of the prison system - that of protecting
and upholding class society - with the aim of destroying them both,
we will not rest until every prison has been razed to the ground.

"If there is a working class them I am with it
If there is a criminal element then I am it
And if there is a soul in prison then I am not free"

Love & Rage
Jonathan, on behalf of Anarchist Black Cross - South Africa

Let sadness turn to anger, harness that anger and turn it to rage
Give expression to that rage and tear down the fucking cage

NOTE: The Prison will not pass on the details and date of his death
until a written request has been approved by the Department of
Correctional Services.

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