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Jacqueline Daane-van Rensburg (1937 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Jacqueline Daane-van Rensburg (1937 - ) Awarded for:
Her courageous stand against the apartheid government and her tireless campaigning for the liberation of South Africa on international platforms.

Profile of Jacqueline Daane-van Rensburg

Jacqueline Daane-van Rensburg was born in Cape Town on 17 December 1937. Her keen sense of justice was sharpened when she adopted a six-year-old lost mute black boy. She and her husband offered to help him by sending him to the School for the Deaf in Worcester. It was as a result of their act of kindness that they found themselves without a job and home. Her husband was fired from his job and his transgression was that he was being sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed.

Daane-van Rensburg’s spirit was not dampened by the cruelty of the regime. Instead, she was inspired to work harder against apartheid. Initially, she devoted herself to smaller acts of kindness. In 1957, she came up against the police when she protested against their brutality, having witnessed the harsh whipping of a young man. The following year she witnessed the battering of a coloured man by the police and she filed a complaint. After that, Daane-van Rensburg was forced to move but threats from the police kept coming.

In 1960 she was warned at gunpoint for allowing black people to make use of her water tap during a march. The increased pressure forced Jacqueline and her family into voluntary exile. She settled in the Netherlands but she never stopped the fight against apartheid. Instead, her fight for justice intensified. Jacqueline and Rev Buskes founded the anti-apartheid movement in The Hague. The following year, she went to New Zealand to campaign against the Springbok rugby team’s tour of that country.

While in New Zealand, Daane-van Rensburg played a crucial role in the stopping of the Springbok tour. She delivered an impassioned speech to the Rotorua Rotary Club, outlining the horrors of discrimination.

In 1976 Jacqueline received a letter from the New Zealand Prime Minister informing her that a decision had been made to stop the tour. It was her speech and many letters to the Prime Minister that convinced the people of New Zealand to vote against Springbok tours to that country.

Her victory was a significant one since rugby was the sport mostly loved by the regime. However, it placed her squarely in line as a target. During that period, Daane-van Rensburg faced a lot of pressure and hardship. She received bomb scares and threaten-ing telephone calls, which became part of her daily life. Her children could not be shielded from the harshness of the threats.

After the tour was called off, Daane-van Rensburg and her family moved back to the Netherlands, having left an indelible mark on New Zealand. She started an adoption scheme that later became worldwide support for the people in the then called “homelands”. She continued to wage war against apartheid in the Netherlands despite the threats. South African security agents continued to harass her, including her family. Jacqueline’s daughter, Ruth, disappeared and was never found.

Eventually, Daane-van Rensburg returned to a free and democratic South Africa where she and her family are living the dream they fought for, having repeatedly put their lives at risk.

Jacqueline Daane-van Rensburg proved that good will always triumph over evil. She resisted simple insulated life provided to white women during apartheid. Her keen sense of justice saw her achieve the impossible. She did no less than change the mind of a prime minister in New Zealand to halt the Springbok tour.

Daane-van Rensburg lives in Cape Town with her family where she continues to be of service to the community.