Family turns down state funeral offer for activist Graeme Baloch

  • The family of anti-apartheid activist and education expert Graeme Baloch turned down the president’s proposal for a state funeral.
  • His brother Lance said he “politely” turned it down because Graeme’s work was never recognized for itself.
  • Baloch died on 9 April after a long struggle with progressive supranuclear palsy.

The family of anti-apartheid activist and education expert Graeme Baloch turned down a state funeral offer for him.

His brother Lance said that he “politely” turned it down on Friday because Baloch’s job was never to gain recognition for himself.

Baloch was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, and after a long struggle with the disease, which eventually left him bediat, died on April 9 at the Constantiaberg Hospital in Cape Town.

He leaves his wife, fellow anti-apartheid activist, politician and diplomat Cheryl Carolus, and a large family.

Speaking at the church’s hybrid in-church and video-stream funerals at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, Lance said that amid the condolences and tributes that followed Graeme’s death, President Syrah of a 21-gun salute with a state Ramaphosa had an offering. The funeral, “… the family politely declined as Graeme, a humble servant to the last, fought not for himself but for recognition for others and because it was the right thing to do”.

Instead, he opted for a service at St. George’s Cathedral run by representatives of the Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Watch | Struggling activist Graeme Baloch laid to rest

Further details on this aspect were not immediately available from the presidency.

Baloch said that from an early age his brother had fought for marginalization and, during apartheid, was “… scattered in the corridors of power”.

He was repeatedly arrested, and beaten, but this never broke his spirit.

His family feared that he and Carolus would be killed by the regime before independence arrived.


He was deeply troubled by the murder of his lawyer and Black Sash activist mother Rosalie and her partner Aubrey Jackson in 2018 – a crime never solved.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motsakhega paid tribute to Baloch’s “very layered life”, from the trenches of the anti-apartheid movement, and for her commitment to a better life for all.

“At least he lived to see the fruits of his labor,” Motschega said.

He is truly one of our national heroes.

Motsakhega stated that a ban was imposed for five years in Baloch’s life, leading to solidarity in the 1976 uprising on June 16; Belonging to the founding members of the prisoners’ support committee and rejecting military consent under apartheid belonged to the End Conscription Campaign.

He was also part of the launch of the United Democratic Front in Cape Town, and was arrested and detained several times.

She said that Baloch was part of the introduction of an education system based on controversial results, but she eventually admitted that it was not appropriate for South African circumstances at the time.

“What he hated the most was the small pace of implementation reforms. He was angered by malfeasance, lethargy and corruption,” Motschega said.

READ | Graeme Baloch: A fighter who stood against injustice and ignorance

Carolus did not speak publicly at the funeral, but her sisters Bev and Des shared an anecdote of fond moments, and the sadness and distress of their last days when bed-bound and struggling to breathe , But his mind was intact in the hospital.

ANC veteran Trevor Manuel and former “young lion” Henrietta Abrams were among the Pale Bearers who also paid tribute to Baloch.

Manuel said that Baloch asked him to speak at a university in the University of Cape Town, and as one, “… a township guy with a huge chip on my shoulder”, he would talk to a class full of people Who was horrified by the idea, “… ate Marx for breakfast”.

Baloch helped her prepare and pull her out.

“I think empowerment is forever concerned.”

During his tribute, former President Kalima Motlanthe described Baloch as selfless.

ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mushetile gave the South African flag to Carolus and proceedings proceeded to a private funeral.

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