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This feature was created by South African History Online (SAHO) to celebrate Fatima Meer’s 80th birthday on 12 August 2008.

As a political leader, academic, publisher, writer, human rights and gender activist and Gandhian, Fatima Meer’s name resonates with the Liberation Struggle. She was one of South Africa’s most distinguished 20th Century leaders.

During a lifelong campaign for the rights of the underclass, Meer has also published more than 40 books on the subject closest to her heart, and has been acknowledged both locally and internationally with a slew of awards in recognition of her anti-apartheid work. Meer has been described as ‘an exemplary Muslim’, who was constantly striving, even in her 80s, to improve the lot of her fellow people.

In the citation for the conferment of her honorary degree from the University of Natal (1998) it was stated that;
(Meer)…was among the first South Africans to have ever existed, a dutiful citizen before citizenship was enfranchised for her”.

13 March 2010 - South African anti-apartheid activist Fatima Meer dies at 81

Meer, who would have turned 82 in August, died in St Augustine's Hospital in Durban on Friday afternoon after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. Meer's brother, Dr Farouk Meer, said she suffered her first stroke eight years ago, leaving her partially paralysed. "This new stroke caused additional damage to her nervous system, particularly the brain," said Meer. Meer, a Durban-based sociologist, was married to Ismail Meer, who died in 2000. She is survived by her two daughters-- Shenaaz and Shamim. Click here for more tributes.

This feature contains the following sub-sections:

  • Biography written in chapters
  • Life timeline
  • Archive containing documents and a list of awards
  • 'Portfolio' section which lists all of Meer's major publications and papers.
  • Contribute button to submit correction, suggestions or comments on the feature.