Apartheid Foe Slovo Mourned in South Africa
President Nelson Mandela was among thousands of mourners who filed past the flag-draped coffin of Joe Slovo in a state funeral Sunday for the African National Congress and Communist Party leader.
The Lithuanian-born Slovo, who died of cancer Jan. 6 at the age of 68, lived to see his dream of democracy come true with South Africa’s historic all-race elections last April.
On a nationally observed day of mourning, thousands filled the Orlando soccer stadium in Soweto and sang songs to pay tribute to Slovo, the first white ANC national leader.
At a podium in front of a huge yellow banner bearing Slovo’s picture stood major figures of the anti-apartheid movement, such as Mandela, ANC Deputy President Walter Sisulu and South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.
Slovo was buried in Heroes’ Acre at Avalon cemetery in Soweto township, southwest of Johannesburg. Longtime ANC activist Helen Joseph, who died in 1992, is the only other white person buried there.
Mandela and Slovo launched the ANC’s guerrilla campaign more than 30 years ago. They worked together beginning in 1990 to guide the ANC through negotiations on ending white rule.