Coura­geous Rivo­nia trial lawyer a good friend to Nel­son Man­dela

Pop­u­lar pho­tog­ra­pher mourned Jour­nal­ist, fam­ily man and all-round good guy will be missed, write Zelda Ven­ter and Val Boje

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OBITUARIES - MICHAEL MOR­RIS

JOEL Joffe, the man who de­ferred his plans to leave South Africa in 1963 so he could help de­fend Nel­son Man­dela and the other Rivo­nia tri­al­lists, has died in Eng­land af­ter a short illness. He was 85.

Joffe, who was made a life peer in 1999, be­com­ing Baron Joffe of Lid­ding­ton, left South Africa in the year af­ter the Rivo­nia trial ended, and set­tled in Bri­tain.

He wrote two books about the trial, The Rivo­nia Story, in 1995, and The State vs. Nel­son Man­dela: The Trial That Changed South Africa in 2007.

Re­pro­duced in the lat­ter vol­ume is a touch­ing letter writ­ten from prison in May 1964 – just a

INDEPENDENT Me­dia has learnt with sad­ness of the death of former staff mem­ber Eti­enne Creux. Creux worked at the Pre­to­ria News, the com­pany’s daily newspaper in Pre­to­ria, as a news pho­tog­ra­pher from June 1996 un­til his re­tire­ment in March 2014. Prior to that he had worked as a photo-lithog­ra­pher and, when the works depart­ment closed in Pre­to­ria, in the ad­ver­tis­ing depart­ment as a pho­tog­ra­pher.

“Eti­enne was highly re­garded and ap­pre­ci­ated by ev­ery­one he came into con­tact with,” said ed­i­tor Val Boje, who worked along­side Creux for 18 years.

“He was a con­sum­mate professional and cared deeply about the city, the Pre­to­ria News, his col­leagues and his fam­ily.

“He was kind and gen­tle, and went out of his way to be help­ful, es­pe­cially to new mem­bers of staff. He was well known in Pre­to­ria and peo­ple who in­vited us to events would of­ten ask if we could please send Eti­enne.”

He even re­ceived an award from former Tsh­wane mayor, Kgosientso Ramok­gopa, on be­half of the city when he re­tired. Ramok­gopa said Creux had been an in­dis­pens­able part of the city and joked: “If pos­si­ble, we’d have a statue of you.”

No as­sign­ment was too big or too small for Creux, and he loved en­gag­ing with peo­ple. He was al­ways open to learn­ing some­thing new and was cu­ri­ous about life. His pho­to­graphs cap­tured the beauty of art, and na­ture, and worked to tell the story.

While most knew him for his pho­to­graphs, Creux was pas­sion­ate about South African mu­sic and at­tended many fes­ti­vals such as Op­pikoppi, where he de­scribed him­self as “the old­est rocker”. His love of mo­tor­bikes was also leg­endary and it was a sad day when month be­fore be­ing sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment – in which the Rivo­nia ac­cused ex­pressed their grat­i­tude to Joffe.

They wrote: “When our trial started in Oc­to­ber 1963, none of us had ever met Joel Joffe be­fore. All we knew of him at the time was that he had cancelled plans to leave South Africa in or­der to take up our de­fence. This alone, at a time when fren­zied hys­te­ria was be­ing whipped up against us amongst the White pop­u­la­tion of this coun­try, as­sured us that he was a man of rare courage and real de­vo­tion to the cause of jus­tice.”

They said they had come to know him “as a lawyer and a friend” who not only gave sage le­gal ad­vice, but took “on him­self ser­vices far his doc­tor ad­vised him not to ride af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

He had a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence that he was al­ways ready to share with the clutch of young jour­nal­ists he gath­ered around him as men­tor, coun­sel­lor, and friend. But he was also al­ways learn­ing – such as mov­ing from film to dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy.

Creux was a fam­ily man and loved the three women in his life, wife Anne and daugh­ters Nicky and be­yond the call of a lawyer’s duty”, as­sist­ing “in all the per­sonal and fam­ily prob­lems that have be­set us, as though our friend­ship had been long and close”.

“Noth­ing,” they said, “has been too much trou­ble for him or fallen out­side his con­cept of a lawyer’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to his client.”

Joel Good­man Joffe was born in Jo­han­nes­burg on May 12, 1932 to a mother born in Pales­tine and a fa­ther born in Lithua­nia.

He at­tended a Catholic board­ing school, and was ed­u­cated at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, grad­u­at­ing with a BCom, LLB in 1955.

He worked as a hu­man rights lawyer from 1958 un­til 1965, when he left South Africa and Michelle. On re­tire­ment, he and Anne be­gan a new ad­ven­ture in Paul Roux in the Free State, to­gether with former col­league and fam­ily friend, Dianne Low and her hus­band.

The two cou­ples en­joyed play­ing bowls to­gether and had reg­u­lar sun­down­ers.

Creux was es­pe­cially proud of his daugh­ters’ achieve­ments; today Nicky is a sci­en­tist liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia while Michelle, who spent many hours by her set­tled in Eng­land.

Joffe pur­sued a new ca­reer in Bri­tain in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try, even­tu­ally estab­lish­ing Ham­bro Life As­sur­ance with Sir Mark Wein­berg. He was also ac­tive in vol­un­tary work.

He was associated with Ox­fam in var­i­ous roles be­tween 1982 and 2001, chair­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion from 1995.

He was a mem­ber of The Royal Com­mis­sion on the Care of the El­derly, and also chaired The Swin­don and Marl­bor­ough Health Au­thor­ity and The Ridge­way Hos­pi­tal.

Joffe was a trustee of many dif­fer­ent char­i­ties and ac­tively pur­sued a range of char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties through the Joffe Char­i­ta­ble Trust. dad’s side at the Pre­to­ria News, be­came a jour­nal­ist and is now re­gional pro­duc­tion man­ager for Independent Me­dia in Cape Town.

“My sis­ter, Nicky, and I are unashamedly daddy’s girls and with a fa­ther like ours it’s no sur­prise,” said Michelle. “He sup­ported Nicky when she de­cided to study sci­ence and never missed one of her graduations on her way to her PhD. He helped me make the news­room my home, drove me to new cities and

He was gen­er­ously hon­oured for his work, re­ceiv­ing hon­orary doc­tor­ates from the Open Univer­sity (1995), De Mont­ford Univer­sity (2000), Wit­wa­ter­srand Univer­sity (2001), Brunel Univer­sity (2004) and Bath Univer­sity (2006), and, in 2016, was awarded the Free­dom of the City of Lon­don.

He was ap­pointed Com­man­der of the Or­der of the Bri­tish Em­pire (CBE) in the 1999 New Year Hon­ours, and made a life peer in Fe­bru­ary 2000. He re­tired from the House of Lords in 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to his bi­og­ra­phy on Wikipedia, Joffe was a “Jewish athe­ist and a hu­man­ist in his be­liefs” who was a “de­voted mem­ber and pa­tron” of Hu­man­ists UK, whose cam­paigns have in­cluded made sure I set­tled into new jobs.

“Be­ing Eti­enne’s daugh­ters came with some perks es­pe­cially at Op­pikoppi. Not con­tent with just two kids, he went around un­of­fi­cially adopt­ing young re­porters and pho­tog­ra­phers. But we were al­ways his favourites.

“Ac­tu­ally, his real favourite was my mother, Anne. They would have cel­e­brated their 42nd wed­ding an­niver­sary next month,” said Michelle. eth­i­cal is­sues such as as­sisted dy­ing, and the pro­mo­tion of a sec­u­lar state in the UK.

Wide-rang­ing trib­utes to Joffe have been made this week from po­lit­i­cal and other spheres.

One of the most es­teemed was made a decade ago by none other than Nel­son Man­dela, who wrote of Joffe’s virtues in his fore­word to The State vs. Nel­son Man­dela: The Trial That Changed South Africa.

Man­dela wrote: “We went into that court­room de­ter­mined to put Apartheid in the dock, even if this were to put our own lives in jeop­ardy. And we were as­sisted by a le­gal team led by the in­domitable ad­vo­cate Bram Fis­cher and man­aged by the tire­less at­tor­ney Joel Joffe.”


Pho­tog­ra­pher Eti­enne Creux took young jour­nal­ists un­der his wing and was pas­sion­ate about South African rock mu­sic.

Joel Joffe: pre­pared to serve ‘far be­yond the call of a lawyer’s duty’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.