Poet, Anti-Apartheid Activist Dennis Brutus Dies

One of the heroes of South Africa's anti-apartheid fight died over the weekend at age 85. Poet Dennis Brutus was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for his protests against South Africa's apartheid system. He helped persuade Olympic officials to ban South Africa from competition from 1964 until apartheid ended nearly 30 years later.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

A hero of South Africa's fight against apartheid has died. Dennis Brutus was 85. He was a protestor and also a poet in the days when a white minority ruled.

Mr. DENNIS BRUTUS (Poet): What the world whispers, apartheid declares with snarling guns. The blood the rich lust after, South Africa exposed in the dust.

WERTHEIMER: That is Dennis Brutus reading one of his poems on our member station WGBH.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now, in the 1960s, Brutus objected to South Africa's all-white sports establishment and was thrown into prison alongside Nelson Mandela. Before his death of prostate cancer, Brutus had the satisfaction of outliving the injustice he decried.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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