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Edward Joseph Daniels (1928 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Edward Joseph Daniels (1928 - ) Awarded for:
Excellent conribtuion to the struggle for an equal, just and democratic society.

Profile of Edward Joseph Daniels

Eddie Daniels was born in 1928 in District six, on the slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking Table Bay. The apartheid government regarded this area as too desirable to be occupied by its multiracial residents. Daniels saw how white, black, muslim, Christian, and Jew lived and traded, side by side, in noisy harmony.

Daniels left school early to contribute to the family finances. He first worked on trawlers, then on whaling ships, plying their deadly trade in Antarctica; and later toiled on the diamond fields of South West Africa (now Namibia).

Racial insults and exclusions prompted Daniels to join the Liberal Party of South Africa (LP), led by Alan Paton, author of Cry the Beloved Country.

The LP's policy was non-violent, but like other political formations, some of its members felt the necessity to act in a more aggressive manner against the apartheid regime's intransigence. Daniels became a member of the newly formed African Resistance Movement, which blew up electricity pylons and other non-human targets as a statement of defiance.

When security police captured a member in possession of the entire membership list, other members fled, but some were captured and revealed information about their fellow comrades. Faced with a possible death penalty, Daniels refused to betray his fellow comrades, showing great courage in his modest actions and lack of bitterness at the actions of others.

While serving a 15-year sentence for sabotage on Robben Island, Daniels completed two university degrees.

Immediately after his release in 1979, Daniels was banned. Despite this limitation on his social and occupational life, he managed to find meaningful work, got married and obtained a Higher Diploma in Education. He was a teacher during the schools' uprising of the 1970s and 1980s, which was so pivotal in turning the tide against apartheid rule in South Africa.

Eddie Daniels's undying spirit for freedom contributed to the demise of racial oppression in South Africa.