VETERAN anti-apartheid activist Margaret Alice Nash was remembered as one of God's "great disturbers" as friends and comrades paid homage to her at a small memorial service held at St George's Cathedral. Nash, 82, died last week after a long illness at a hospice in Kenilworth. In the 1970s and the 1980s, she had been a vociferous voice against forced removals, and was a member of numerous social movements, but mostly active in the Black Sash and the ecumenical Christian movement.
Among those mournirg her death, were some venerable figures of the antiapartheid movement and social activists like Revererd Peter Storey, Father Michael Lapsley, Rachmat Jaffer, Mary Burton, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Jim Cochrane and Archbishcp Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Nash had been so orgalised, that recently when REV Peter Fox told her about plans for Kader Asmal's memorial service, she quipped, askirg whether minutes had beEn taken. Fox said Nash was a "cen do" person— someone who h2d been a key link to the ian anti-apartheid movement overseas. Burton, a former national president of the Black Sash, said Nash's intelligence and her sometimes combative nature, covered a heart which was dedicated to the quest for justice for all. Lapsley told the service how Nash had grown disappointed with post-apartheid South Africa and the direction of the ANC in government.
A prolific letter writer and author of several reports, her writing highlighted the injustice of apartheid South Africa. "Her articles, letters and statements were known for the strength of character. They were put to good use by the organisations in which she was involved," Burton said. Storey remembered Nash as "a prod, ensuring that we turn our faces to where people were htirting the most". "Margaret never did anything by half, once she decided to support Gun Free South Africa, she gave it her all. She had a consistent, passionate, commitment to non-violence. "She gave the same effort to those who were victims of forced removals. She taught and lived, what she called 'assertive non-violence'," he said.
Over the years, Nash had been active in several organisations like the Christian Institute, Civil Rights League and the End Conscription Campaign in the 1980s. When she joined Gun Free South Africa in 1996, Storey said she encouraged activists to "think more deeply and to network more widely". "Margaret was always asking the pertinent questions. She held us all to God's vision of the higher world. "She was one of God's great disturbers. May she continue to disturb us, even as she enters her rest," Storey said. Ndungane remembered Nash as someone who didn't moderate the use of her voice when it came to protesting the injustices of apartheid.