The Institute for African Alternatives deeply regrets the passing away early today of its Director, Professor Ben Turok. He will be remembered as an icon of the struggle for justice and democracy, a man who throughout his life remained determinedly committed to equality, nonracialism and full human rights and he demanded dignity for all the people of South Africa.
Above all he fought to the very end, demanding transformation for all in South Africa. Never one to fear making his voice heard, he sounded strong criticism of the corruption and abuse of power in South Africa and was especially concerned at how the raiding of the fiscus by criminal elements in power hurt the poorest and the most vulnerable in our society most of all.
He died still fighting; in his very last written statement he asked “Is there a way out of this mess” and demanded “what has happened to all the aspirations for creating a society which benefits all, including the poor and unemployed?” He had angry words for those riding high and disregarding their responsibility of providing benefits for the rest.
This characterises the more than seventy years he dedicated to fighting, first apartheid and after that any relics of apartheid, discrimination and exploitation that he encountered. He was committed to finding a solution to the challenges facing our country in its fight for equality and an equal life for all.
We at the Institute of African Alternatives learned much from the Prof. He inspired us and instilled in us all an understanding and abhorrence of injustice. We will keep this alive and the same can surely be said of all those with whom he came into contact.
An example, an inspiration, a teacher and above all a democrat, IFAA calls on South African to keep his spirit alive.