graeme bloch

Graeme Bloch: Ramaphosa pays tribute to anti-apartheid activist

Andile Sicetsha - 09.04.2021

President Ramaphosa championed Graeme Bloch for his undying efforts in the struggle to emancipate the oppressed.

The passing of revered apartheid activist Graeme Bloch has been widely felt in South Africa’s academia and political circles.

Graeme Bloch dies aged 65: What was the cause of death?

News of Bloch’s passing was shared by his brother Lance on social media, who confirmed that the 65-year-old took his last breath on Friday morning with his wife Cheryl Carolus by his side.

In the statement, Lance revealed that Bloch had lost his battle to a life-long struggle with “a terrible neurodegenerative disease which left him with a brilliant mind in a wasting body.”

RIP GRAEME BLOCH, MY BROTHER 23/1/56-9/4/21 A fearless fighter for justice and equalityBanned, detained, beaten by the…

Posted by Lance Bloch on Friday, 9 April 2021

Ramaphosa pens heartfelt tribute to apartheid activist

Bloch played an instrumental part in raising global awareness of the vicious apartheid system whose impact still holds great influence in the economic construct of modern-day South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa took time out of his two-day trip to an extraordinary SADC summit, to pen a heartfelt tribute to Bloch shortly after news of his passing had circulated.

“[I am] deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Graeme Bloch. We recall and honour with gratitude and admiration his contribution to our struggle, from his early days as a passionate, long-haired student activist.

“We are richer as a nation for Graeme’s intellectual and organisational leadership in the education sector, ushering us towards adopting a range of policies that opened the doors to millions of historically excluded citizens. Wishing his loved ones strength at this difficult time,” the president wrote.

Five things you didn’t know about Graeme Bloch

The Bloch family has been showered with continuous outpours of support from those who have recognised the revered educationalist’s work in shaping South Africa into a progressive society.

A very influential man whose works received more acclaim than he, himself, Bloch found satisfaction in changing people’s lives in anonymity.

This is why, for many South Africans, his name is unfamiliar. In honour of his work, we have compiled a list of five things you may have not known about Bloch.

He was a decorated UCT alumni

Bloch obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Cape Town with stellar “Class Medals” recognition in Ethics 1, in 1976.

He would obtain his Master of Arts four years later at the same tertiary.

Some of his work in social development

To say that Bloch dedicated his entire life towards affecting lives positively is an understatement. Here are some of the landmark projects he has participated in over the years:

  • He was a member of the Anti-Apartheid Archives Steering Committee (1998)
  • He represented South Africa at the UN Commission for Social Development, in New York (1997)
  • He organised the JET Conference on Youth Job-Skills Training (1995)
  • He served as Vice President of UDUSA (Union of Democratic University Staff Associations) – (1992)
  • For his anti-apartheid efforts, he was detained four times (1976, 1985 twice, 1989)

He was a certified black belt in Karate

Block was awarded the prestigious black belt in 1981

He’s worked for the City of Johannesburg

Between June 2004 and February 2005, Bloch served as Director at the Department of Social Development in Gauteng.

The apartheid government had it out for him

Despite his numerous arrests, Bloch’s fight for the oppressed never waivered. Due to this, between 1976 and 1981 he was banned from leaving Cape Town.

Bloch is survived by his wife Cheryl.