Recebi hoje um e.mail da comÁfrica.org, através do seu diretor de comunicação, Dr. Salomon Blajberg, onde nos notícia o falecimento do ativista anti-apartheid e poeta sul-africano Dennis Brutus.
A informação mais completa poderá ser lida no próprio e.mail que o Dr. Salomon teve a amabilidade de me enviar.
Que esta transcrição fique como uma homengem a um herói desconhecido por muitos.
Deixo também aqui o link para os "post's" que levaram-me a ter contato com a comÁfrica.org:
Abaixo o e.mail do Dr. Salomon Blajberg:
O ATIVISTA ANTI-APARTHEID E POETA SUL-AFRICANO Dennis Brutus faleceu enquanto dormia, no sábado 26/12/09, aos 85 anos de idade em sua casa em Cape Town.
Neste ano de 2009, o comAfrica.org, dentro de suas atribuições, contribuiu com depoimento, materiais de seu acervo e indicações de contatos no Brasil e África do Sul, inclusive o do Prof. Dennis Brutus, para que a celebração e lembrança das primeiras manifestações brasileiras contra o apartheid em 1959 pudessem ser consubstanciadas nas reportagens apresentadas pelo programa Esporte Espetacular, (http://video.globo.com/Videos/Player/Esportes/0,,GIM1093159-7824-ESPECIAL+SPORTV+APARTHEID,00.html) que revelaram ao Brasil também a importante contribuição de Dennis Brutus para que tais manifestações acontecessem em 1959, quando como dirigente da South African Sports Association recém fundada como alternativa ás organizações desportivas racistas, teve a iniciativa de enviar o telegrama ao Presidente do Brasil Juscelino Kubitscheck no qual pedia para que não permitisse a participação do time brasileiro num jogo de futebol em moldes racistas .
Dennis Brutus ficou preso na Ilha de Robben junto com Nelson Mandela em meados de 1960. Seu ativismo levou o Comitê Internacional Olímpico a proibir a participação da África do Sul desde os jogos de 1968 até o fim da segregação, quase 30 anos depois.
Ele foi para o exílio em 1966 e mais tarde veio para os Estados Unidos da América para ensinar Literatura e Estudos Africanos na Northwestern University e na Universidade de Pittsburgh.
Ao longo dos anos, escreveu mais de uma dúzia de livros de poesia, incluindo dois durante o confinamento. Ele deixa sua mulher e oito filhos.
Nos últimos anos, Dennis Brutus era Professor no Center for Civil Society na Universidade de Kwa Zulu Natal , cuja homenagem por ocasião de seu falecimento está transcrita mais abaixo (em inglês) .
Mesmo em seus últimos dias , Brutus estava plenamente engajado, defendendo o protesto social contra aqueles responsáveis pelas mudanças climáticas , e promovendo a causa das reparações para os sul-africanos negros cobradas das grandes corporações que se beneficiaram do apartheid. Ele era um dos principais demandantes no processo baseado no Alien Tort Claims Act[ [Lei de Reclamação de Danos Estrangeiros], uma lei que permite a cidadãos de qualquer nacionalidade processar em tribunais estadunidenses por violações de direitos ou tratados internacionais.] contra as principais multinacionais envolvidas , um processo que no momento está avançando no sistema judiciário estadunidense.
Relembramos aqui as palavras do prof. Dennis Brutus ao povo brasileiro na entrevista que deu ao programa Esporte Espetacular ((http://video.globo.com/Videos/Player/Esportes/0,,GIM1093159-7824-ESPECIAL+SPORTV+APARTHEID,00.html)) :
"Gostaria de mandar um recado agora que estamos celebrando a data: Muito obrigado por terem nos ajudado nesta luta pela humanidade. Eu agradeço profundamente . Obrigado!"
"A Luta continua!" Este slogan tão conhecido em nossa língua portuguesa e que se incorporou, no âmbito das lutas de libertação nacional, a várias línguas da África Austral, com a sua sonoridade do nosso vernáculo, bem caracteriza a obra de Dennis Brutus e sua vida, cuja divulgação nesta língua merece continuar.
Salomon Blajberg ,Ph.d. Viena
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A TRIBUTE TO DENNIS BRUTUS
Dennis Vincent Brutus, 1924-2009
World-renowned political organizer and one of Africa’s most celebrated poets, Dennis Brutus, died early on December 26 in Cape Town, in his sleep, aged 85.
Even in his last days, Brutus was fully engaged, advocating social protest against those responsible for climate change, and promoting reparations to black South Africans from corporations that benefited from apartheid. He was a leading plaintiff in the Alien Tort Claims Act case against major firms that is now making progress in the US court system.
Brutus was born in Harare in 1924, but his South African parents soon moved to Port Elizabeth where he attended Paterson and Schauderville High Schools. He entered Fort Hare University on a full scholarship in 1940, graduating with a distinction in English and a second major in Psychology. Further studies in law at the University of the Witwatersrand were cut short by imprisonment for anti-apartheid activism.
Brutus’ political activity initially included extensive journalistic reporting, organising with the Teachers’ League and Congress movement, and leading the new South African Sports Association as an alternative to white sports bodies. After his banning in 1961 under the Suppression of Communism Act, he fled to Mozambique but was captured and deported to Johannesburg.
There, in 1963, Brutus was shot in the back while attempting to escape police custody. Memorably, it was in front of Anglo American Corporation headquarters that he nearly died while awaiting an ambulance reserved for blacks.
While recovering, he was held in the Johannesburg Fort Prison cell which more than a half-century earlier housed Mahatma Gandhi. Brutus was transferred to Robben Island where he was jailed in the cell next to Nelson Mandela, and in 1964-65 wrote the collections Sirens Knuckles Boots and Letters to Martha, two of the richest poetic expressions of political incarceration.
Subsequently forced into exile, Brutus resumed simultaneous careers as a poet and anti-apartheid campaigner in London, and while working for the International Defense and Aid Fund, was instrumental in achieving the apartheid regime’s expulsion from the 1968 Mexican Olympics and then in 1970 from the Olympic movement.
Upon moving to the US in 1977, Brutus served as a professor of literature and African studies at Northwestern (Chicago) and Pittsburgh, and defeated high-profile efforts by the Reagan Administration to deport him during the early 1980s. He wrote numerous poems, ninety of which will be published osthumously next year by Worcester State University, and he helped organize major African writers organizations with his colleagues Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
Following the political transition in South Africa, Brutus resumed activities with grassroots social movements in his home country. In the late 1990s he also became a pivotal figure in the global justice movement and a featured speaker each year at the World Social Forum, as well as at protests against the World Trade Organisation, G8, Bretton Woods Institutions and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
Brutus continued to serve in the anti-racism, reparations and economic justice movements as a leading strategist until his death, calling in August for the ‘Seattling’ of the recent Copenhagen summit because sufficient greenhouse gas emissions cuts and North-South ‘climate debt’ payments were not on the agenda.
His final academic appointment was as Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society, and for that university’s press and Haymarket Press, he published the autobiographical Poetry and Protest in 2006.
Amongst numerous recent accolades were the US War Resisters League peace award in September, two Doctor of Literature degrees conferred at Rhodes and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in April - following six other honorary doctorates – and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the South African government Department of Arts and Culture in 2008.
Brutus was also awarded membership in the South African Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, but rejected it on grounds that the institution had not confronted the country’s racist history. He also won the Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes awards.
The memory of Dennis Brutus will remain everywhere there is struggle against injustice. Uniquely courageous, consistent and principled, Brutus bridged the global and local, politics and culture, class and race, the old and the young, the red and green. He was an emblem of solidarity with all those peoples oppressed and environments wrecked by the power of capital and state elites – hence some in the African National Congress government labeled him ‘ultraleft’. But given his role as a world-class poet, Brutus showed that social justice advocates can have both bread and roses.
Brutus’s poetry collections are:
Sirens Knuckles and Boots (Mbari Productions, Ibaden, Nigeria and Northwestern University Press, Evanston Illinois, 1963).
Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison (Heinemann, Oxford, 1968).
Poems from Algiers (African and Afro-American Studies and Research Institute, Austin, Texas, 1970).
A Simple Lust (Heinemann, Oxford, 1973).
China Poems (African and Afro-American Studies and Research Centre, Austin, Texas, 1975).
Strains (Troubador Press, Del Valle, Texas).
Stubborn Hope (Three Continents Press, Washington, DC and Heinemann, Oxford, 1978).
Salutes and Censures (Fourth Dimension, Enugu, Nigeria, 1982).
Airs and Tributes (Whirlwind Press, Camden, New Jersey, 1989).
Still the Sirens (Pennywhistle Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1993).
Remembering Soweto, ed. Lamont B. Steptoe (Whirlwind Press, Camden, New Jersey, 2004).
Leafdrift, ed. Lamont B. Steptoe (Whirlwind Press, Camden, New Jersey, 2005).
Poetry and Protest: A Dennis Brutus Reader, ed. Aisha Kareem and Lee Sustar (Haymarket Books, Chicago and University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 2006).
He is survived by his wife May, his sisters Helen and Dolly, eight children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in Hong Kong, England, the USA and Cape Town.
(By Patrick Bond)
Statement from the Brutus Family on the passing of Professor Dennis Brutus
Professor Dennis Brutus died quietly in his sleep on the 26th December, earlier this morning. He is survived by his wife May, his sisters Helen and Dolly, eight children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in Hong Kong, England, the USA and Cape Town.
Dennis lived his life as so many would wish to, in service to the causes of justice, peace, freedom and the protection of the planet. He remained positive about the future, believing that popular movements will achieve their aims.
Dennis’ poetry, particularly of his prison experiences on Robben Island, has been taught in schools around the world. He was modest about his work, always trying to improve on his drafts.
His creativity crossed into other areas of his life, he used poetry to mobilize, to inspire others to action, also to bring joy.
We wish to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff who provided excellent care for Dennis in his final months, and to also thank St Luke’s Hospice for their assistance.
There will be a private cremation within a few days and arrangements for a thanks giving service will be made known in early January.
Poet, activist Dennis Brutus dies
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - Dec 27 2009 07:14
South African poet and former political prisoner Dennis Brutus, who fought apartheid in words and deeds and remained an activist well after the fall of his country's racist system, has died. He was 85.
Brutus' publisher, Chicago-based Haymarket Books, said the writer died in his sleep at his home in Cape Town on Saturday.
Brutus was an anti-apartheid activist jailed at Robben Island with Nelson Mandela in the mid-1960s. His activism led Olympic officials to ban South Africa from competition from 1964 until apartheid ended nearly 30 years later.
Born in 1924 in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Brutus was the son of South African teachers who moved back to their native country when he was still a boy. He majored in English at Fort Hare University, which he attended on full scholarship, and taught at several South African high schools.
By his early 20s, he was politically involved and helped create the South African Sports Association, formed in protest against the official white sports association. Brutus was banned from South Africa in 1961, fled to Mozambique, but was deported back to South Africa and nearly murdered when shot as he attempted to escape police custody and forced to wait for an ambulance that would accept black South Africans.
His books Sirens, Knuckles, Boots and Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison were published while he was in jail. His poems were political, but also emotional and highly personal.
He was confined, but unbeaten, writing in the poem Somehow We Survive that "All our land is scarred with terror/rendered unlovely and unlovable/sundered are we and all our passionate surrender/but somehow tenderness survives."
In Prayer, written after he left prison, he proclaims, "Uphold -- frustrate me if need be/so that I mould my energy/for +that one swift inerrable soar." Forced to leave the country in 1966, he longed for home in the 1975 poem Sequence for South Africa, writing that the the "secret is clamping down/holding the lid of awareness tight shut," until "some thoughtless questioner/pries the sealed lid loose".
Brutus emigrated to the United States in 1971, but his legal troubles did not end. The Reagan administration, which began in 1981, changed the policy on political refugees, making it more difficult for them to remain in the US. Brutus was threatened with deportation and his case was finally resolved in 1983 when an immigration judge granted asylum.
Brutus taught literature and African studies at Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh, a distinctive figure in old age with his flowing white hair and beard, engaged in protests against world financial organisations and in calls for stronger action against global warming.
Over the years, he completed more than a dozen collections of poetry, including A Simple Lust, Stubborn Hope and Salutes and Censures.
In 2006, Haymarket published a compilation of his work, Poetry and Protest.
He received numerous honorary prizes, including a lifetime achievement award from South Africa's Department of Arts and Culture. But in 2007 he rejected induction into the South Africa Sports Hall of Fame, stating, "It is incompatible to have those who championed racist sport alongside its genuine victims. It's time -- indeed long past time -- for sports truth, apologies and reconciliation."
He is survived by a wife, eight children and many other relatives. - Sapa-AP
Source: Mail & Guardian Online
Web Address: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-12-27-poet-activist-dennis-brutus-dies