Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has expressed sadness at the passing of education activist, Graeme Bloch.
Bloch passed away last week Friday at Constantiaberg Hospital in Cape Town.
He succumbed to an uncommon brain disorder affecting movement and control of walking, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), seven years after his diagnosis.
Paying tribute, Nzimande said Bloch was a struggle hero, educationist, and activist.
“He had an illustrious political career and extensively fought against apartheid during his days as a student activist at the University of Cape Town. He fought alongside the poor, the working class and the disenfranchised, among others, challenging the apartheid authorities on their discriminatory education system.
“Graeme was intellectually astute. Our current education policies find expression from Graeme’s policy positions of the ‘70s, ’80s and ’90s. Today, we can cheerfully claim that his contribution was indeed immeasurable and futuristic.”
The Minister said he was a visionary who among many leaders advocated for the decolonisation of the education system in order to benefit the poor and the working class.
Before 1994, Bloch was an executive member of the National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) as well as the United Democratic Front (UDF). Both organisations were part of the anti-apartheid movement challenging various laws and policies of the apartheid oppressive system.
Post-1994 South Africa, Bloch continued to write and publish extensively on matters of education and contributed immensely to forging democratic principles of education.
He continued to serve in many capacities at universities, including the University of Cape Town Council, University of Witwatersrand’s Public and Development Management School (P&DM) and served as a senior researcher at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra).
“In Graeme’s memory, I would like to urge our contemporary writers and education commentators to emulate Graeme’s exemplary stewardship which he unselfishly shared with the South African education landscape for social and economic emancipation of the poor and the working class.
“Indeed this work will remain engraved in our minds through the books and papers that he wrote,” Nzimande said.
The Minister extended his condolences to Bloch’s wife, Cheryl Carolus, and his eight siblings as well as the entire mass democratic movement.
“I would also like to thank his family and relatives who shared Graeme with us. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” the Minister said.