At a memorial service for the late Margaret Nash, 82, in the St George’s Cathedral on Monday, her family and friends described her as a “courageous voice on social justice”.
Nash died last week in Claremont after a long illness. During the 1980s she courageously wrote about the forced removals in the province by the apartheid government.
According to a report by Nash, almost 3 million people were orcibly removed from their original homes. In the 1980s, she strongly opposed apartheid and forced removals.
She had a doctorate in theology, having focused her dissertation on the ecumenical movement in the 1960s. She was also involved in a number of organisations, including the Black Sash and the South African Council of Churches.
In a tribute to her yesterday, Rev Peter Fox said that her activism and compassion went hand in hand.
“She enjoyed travelling and camping. She also spoke widely about the role of the church in promoting social justice. And she firmly believed that our religion evaluated how we relate to life,” he said.
Rachmat Jaffer, another close friend of Nash, said: “She was a woman of worth. She always asked: ‘Why can’t we live simply so that others can simply live?’ She will be sadly missed by me and my family.”
Mary Burton from the Black Sash said that Nash was in favour of justice for all and an end to racism. “Other members from the Black Sash learnt a lot from her. She stood up against apartheid and was concerned about the poor and voiceless people. Margaret was a friendly loyal person with a sense of humour. She had physical and moral courage and was a feisty fighter for justice and liberty.
The former Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, thanked Nash for her influence in society. “The first time I met her she made a valuable impression on me. She was also my point of reference when I once did research in Cape Town. I thank God for her influence in the life of our church,” he said.
Margaret Nash was unmarried and is survived by her sister, Eleanor.