We pay tribute to Black Sash pioneer Desirée Berman

Black Sash member Desirée Berman has died in London. She passed away on 15 January 2012.  Desirée was one of the very early members of the Black Sash, and served as the editor of the magazine from December 1958 to December 1961.  This was a period when the Cape Western Region served as the headquarters of the Black Sash and Eulalie Stott was the National President. At the end of 1961, Jean Sinclair was elected National President and headquarters moved back to Johannesburg.

During her period of office as editor Desirée gathered information about the Black Sash as well as interesting articles by a variety of authors:  for example,  Dennis Brutus, Leo Marquard, Leslie Blackwell, and Alex Hepple.  In a brief note in the December 1961 issue, she wrote “the retiring editor thanks all those who have so generously supported her during the past three years and wishes her successor good luck in an eminently worthwhile task”.  

Even after she left South Africa to live in England, she maintained a keen interest in the Black Sash, and on visits here would always make contact and attend meetings.