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  The Position of Women in Post-Apartheid South Africa: An Assessment of Gains and Losses When: 4/29/2011 1:00:00 PM
Where: Student Center Room 205
Eddie Daniels

Eddie Daniels grew up in District 6, a “coloured” area of Cape Town in the shadow of Table Mountain. The district was an impoverished area where a child was lucky to grow to adulthood. It later became famous when the apartheid government of South Africa bulldozed down all the houses and turned the area over to white development. Though legally classified as “coloured” by the apartheid government (because of his English and African ancestors), Daniels writes, “I take exception to being referred to as ‘Coloured’ as I see myself as a South Africa. If I must be referred to in terms of colour then I prefer the term ‘black.’”

Daniels frequently climbed Table Mountain, sometimes rescuing other climbers who found themselves trapped. He worked on a whaling ship and then in the mines before opening a photography studio with a friend. He then joined the Liberal Party, because it was the only political party open to all races. It was one of the first political parties banned for that reason.  To protest the oppression and injustice of the apartheid regime, Daniels and other s in the Liberal Party began sabotaging government utilities.

Daniels was captured and imprisoned on Robben Island for 15 years for this activity. In prison, he befriended Nelson Mandela. That great leader of the African National Congress (ANC) always included Daniels in his political discussions, even though Daniels was the only member of the Liberal Party in prison (compared to the more numerous ANC and Pan African Congress). After they were both released from prison, Mandela said of Daniels, “We recall his loyalty and courage; his sense of humour, and justice as well as total commitment to the struggle of the prisoners for the eradication of injustice and for the betterment of their conditions.”

Fifteen years after entering prison, Daniels was released. His movements were still very limited because he was under a banning order that allowed him to only meet with one person at a time.  He was able to get around these orders to court Eleanor. She was a white woman he had met prior to his imprisonment who supported him despite his warning about how tainted she would become associating with him. They were married twice—once by a minister when the Mixed Marriages Act outlawed their union and again by the law after apartheid was finally overthrown.


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