Thursday, June 19, 2008

SACP, ANC Statements on the Passing of South African Journalist and Activist Brian Bunting (1920-2008)

The SACP mourns the passing away of Cde Brian Bunting

19 June 2008

SACP stalwart, Comrade Brian Bunting died at his home in Rondebosch, Cape Town yesterday morning. Born in Johannesburg in 1920, Brian was the son of Sidney Percival Bunting, a founder and key architect of the Communist Party in South Africa.

Brian Bunting graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1939. He worked as a journalist on the Rand Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. He served in North Africa during World War II and then became assistant editor and later chief editor of The Guardian, and, after it was banned, its successor publications, Advance, Clarion, Peoples’ World and New Age. As one publication was banned by the apartheid regime, so a new one was launched. Bunting was also assistant national secretary of the Springbok Legion and editor of its journal, Fighting Talk.

Bunting was a life-long communist party member. As a newly elected member of the party’s Johannesburg district committee he was arrested in 1946 following the African mine workers strike, but charges were later dropped.

From November 1952 to October 1953 he was elected as a Natives’ representative in the House of Assembly from the Cape Western district. But he was expelled from Parliament because of his Communist Party affiliations. He was banned in 1952, detained in 1960, and placed under house arrest in 1963. Shortly afterwards he went into exile.

Based in London together with his late wife Sonia, Brian played a leading role in the regrouping of the exiled movement and in building anti-apartheid international solidarity. For many years he edited the SACP’s official organ, The African Communist. The Buntings returned to South Africa in the early 1990s and Brian had the pleasure of being elected as an ANC MP in 1994, returning to the very corridors from which he had been unceremoniously expelled by the apartheid regime some forty years earlier.

Brian remained active in his local SACP branch throughout the 1990s and into the last years and he also served on the SACP’s central committee until mid-2007 when travelling became increasingly difficult. Bunting’s publications include The Rise of the South African Reich, and Moses Kotane, South African Revolutionary.

Along with other outstanding freedom figures like Govan Mbeki and Ruth First, Brian Bunting belonged to a generation that bequeathed to our country a major tradition of investigative and radical journalism. A gentle personality, a lucid thinker, deeply loyal to his fellow comrades and organisations, Brian Bunting embodied the best non-racial traditions of our struggle. It is with pride that the SACP dips it banner in honour of this outstanding South African communist.

Hamba kahle, cde Brian Bunting!

Issued by the SACP
For more information contact:
Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802


19 June 2008

The African National Congress mourns the passing yesterday (18 June 2008) of Brian Bunting, an outstanding veteran of the liberation struggle, a respected journalist and author, and a committed revolutionary.

Bunting had to pay a heavy price for his political convictions and his outspoken journalism, having been banned, prohibited from publishing, detained and forced into exile.

He nevertheless remained, throughout his life, a committed communist and unwavering freedom fighter. Though advanced in years, Bunting remained ready to take up whatever task the movement assigned him, often serving on various ANC committees and commissions.

Bunting was born in Johannesburg in 1920, the son of Communist Party leader Sidney Bunting. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1939. He then worked as a sub-editor on the Rand Daily Mail and the Sunday Times.

After serving in North Africa and Italy during World War II, he became assistant editor of the Guardian. Later he became chief editor of The Guardian and its successor publications, Advance, Clarion, Peoples' World, and New Age, which was published in Cape Town (except during the 1960 emergency) until it was banned in 1962.

He was assistant national secretary of the Springbok Legion and an editor of its journal, Fighting Talk. In 1946 he was elected to the Johannesburg district committee of the Communist Party, and later served on the party's central committee. He was arrested following the 1946 African mine strike, but charges against him were subsequently dropped.

From November 1952 to October 1953 he was a Natives' representative in the house of Assembly from Cape Western district. Elected to succeed Sam Kahn, he was, like Kahn, expelled from the Parliament because of his membership in the CPSA. Banned since 1952, detained in 1960, and placed under house arrest in 1962. He was prohibited from publishing in 1963 when he was a writer for Spark.

Shortly afterwards he left South Africa for London. His writings included The Rise of the South African Reich.

The liberation movement has last one its most exceptional leaders and South Africa one of its dearest sons. We salute the memory of Brian Bunting, and commit ourselves to honour his revolutionary legacy through our pursuit of a better life for all our people.

Issued by:
Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General
African National Congress
54 Sauer Street
Johannesburg 2001
South Africa

19 June 2008
For more information, interview requests and general enquiries:
Steyn Speed 082 572 7304
Vuyisa Manyandela 011 376 1052

1 comment:

Shimonzk said...

It is with deep sorrow that I learn't of the passing of Brian Bunting, one of South Africa's greatest fighting sons. I received the news by email from his son, Peter, who was at school with me from the first day in Camps Bay Primary School to the last day writing our final matric exams at Camps Bay High School.

He was to me a role model, embodied with idealism and great concern for those who had suffered the numerous injustices of the dark apartheid years of the 1950's and 1960's until his exile in 1963. He had made many sacrifices for the cause for which he fought so passionately

He and his wife, Sonia, had always commanded my respect for their determination to fight the evil apartheid system of South Africa.

I rememember the years, just before the bannings of the New Age and Spark newspapers which Peter used to bring to me at school to take to my father to read.

Peter used to come to school and tell us that his parents were banned or under house arrest for their anti-apartheid activities.

As young kids we used to go to birthday parties at their modest home on the slopes of Lion's Head in Upper Kloof Rd, Clifton. The only thing that was not modest about their home was the outstanding view of the sea and Clifton Beaches.

Whenever I used to travel to London or Cape Town, I used to make contact with Brian and his wife, Sonia.

Brian was a great humanist and I had always respected his non-racist views and his modesty. He was always a role model for me and his ideas had shaped my political outlook in many ways even to this day.

He will be sorely missed and i wish to extend my heartfelt symapthies to his children Peter, Margaret and Stephen.

Selwyn Zac. Klein