(GIN) - "The most popular and recognizable Indian South African Muslim woman over the past five decades" and "a true Gandhian," Fatima Meer died this week at the age of 82.
She combined oppositional activism with a politics of bridge-building. In 1946, Meer joined other South African Indians in a passive resistance campaign against apartheid.
During the 1970s she was banned and later detained without trial for trying to organise a political rally with Black Consciousness Movement figure Steve Biko.
Founder of the Institute for Black Research at Natal University, she was a prolific writer. Her books included the compelling Trial of Andrew Zondo, story of an executed ANC guerrilla, and Higher Than Hope, an uncritical biography of Nelson Mandela.
At a state funeral in Durban, close friend Winnie Madikizela-Mandela gave a tearful eulogy and urged that Meer's house be made a national heritage site.