‘True freedom fighter’, Trevor Bonhomme, dies after cancer battle
NEWLANDS East resident and ANC MP Trevor Bonhomme died at the weekend after a battle with bone-marrow cancer.
Bonhomme’s younger brother, Virgil, said Bonhomme was in hospital for the past two weeks and died on Saturday.
“He had all the support of his family. He was married for 56 years and never left the Newlands area. In the 1980s, he was detained for about six months for his activist work.
“He worked for the ANC, even though he did not have a membership card, but when the party was unbanned, he took membership. This is a loss to the family and the community at large,” he said.
Bonhomme, 75, leaves behind his wife, six children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. The funeral date would be announced soon.
Mdumiseni Ntuli, ANC provincial spokesperson, said the party was saddened by Bonhomme’s death.
“He joined the Struggle at an early age and was active in various structures of the ANC underground, the Mass Democratic Movement and the United Democratic Front,” Ntuli said.
“Bonhomme’s core activist work was within the coloured community in our province. He was nevertheless an avowed non-racialist working to unite our people and build our coun- try,” he said.
Ntuli said as an ANC MP, Bonhomme maintained his constituency office in Phoenix and served there with great distinction.
“He was active in committees of Parliament speaking out on issues as diverse as rhino poaching to child welfare, and in defence of the poor and vulnerable in our society,” Ntuli said.
“His record of attendance in Parliament was also highly commendable.
“Comrade Bonhomme leaves us a powerful legacy of relentless activism, spotless integrity and the highest organisational discipline. We will miss his good humour and constant readiness to get down to work,” he said.
“The ANC conveys its deepest condolences to his family, relatives, friends and comrades in our movement.”
Ravi Pillay, Human Settlements MEC, described Bonhomme as one of the “wonder- ful” and “inspiring” examples in the history of the ANC.
“He was a grounded and dynamic leader who never left his community, even when he joined the provincial legislature,” Pillay said.
Retired judge Thumba Pillay said he knew Bonhomme from the 1980s.
“He was involved in the biggest march in Durban, campaigning for the desegregation of beaches in 1989. A day before the march he was detained by the security police. That did not stop him from getting involved with the United Democratic Front. He was a true freedom fighter,” Pillay said.
Fawzia Peer, eThekwini deputy mayor, said Bonhomme had served the organisation with great distinction.
“He always spoke out in defence of the poor and vulnerable in our society. He leaves a legacy of relentless activism and the highest organisational discipline,” Peer said.