Kader Asmal, a South African liberation hero and former government minister, has died at the age of 76, said Brian Sokutu, a spokesman for his African National Congress party.
Asmal died in a Cape Town hospital at about 4 p.m. local time today, Sokutu said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg. The cause of his death wasn’t immediately known, the spokesman said. E-News, a Cape Town-based broadcaster, reported that Asmal died of a heart attack.
“He will be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to the liberation of South Africa,” Sokutu said. “He played a very important role in the changing of public perceptions abroad of what the ANC was.”
Asmal served as water affairs and forestry minister under former President Nelson Mandela and education minister under former President Thabo Mbeki. He is survived by his wife, Louise, and two children.
Professor Asmal shared a platform with me some years after my leaving Trinity College. He was very close to the distinguished academic The Rev. TP Mc Caughey, close friend to the late Ted Hughes. Law students will recall Kader Asmal with affection.