ISMAIL MOHAMED: AN ACTIVIST ’ S LIFE
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma is expected to attend the funeral service of Wits University academic and former Member of Parliament, Ismael Mohamed, in Johannesburg tomorrow.
Mohamed was a vice-president of the United Democratic Front and was tried by the apartheid government as part of the UDF Pietermaritzburg 22 in the 1980s.
Ismail Jacobus Mohamed was born in Barkly East on July 27, 1930.
He and his mother Johanna Fortuin later moved to Aliwal North and then to Doornfontein, Johannesburg, where his mother worked as a seamstress in a garment factory, and young Ismail worked at a dry cleaning company.
Later, Mohamed worked for the South African Railways as a bedding attendant and dishwasher.
He then studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he obtained a master’s degree in mathematics.
While teaching at William Hills High School, Mohamed met Ellen Rygaardt, whom he married in 1959. He completed his PhD degree in mathematics in London, and soon became well-known for the Heineken-Mohamed Theorems, compiled together with a fellow academic, a Professor Heineken.
Mohamed received honorary doctorates from the National University of Lesotho and Wits University, and went on to lecture at the Universities of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland between 1968 and 1974.
In 1975, Mohamed became a professor at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). In 1976, he was arrested under the Internal Security Act.
He was expelled from the UWC because of his political activism. After his release in 1977 he became an associate professor at Wits University.
After the 1994 national democratic elections, Mohamed became a Member of Parliament, and served from 1994 until 2009. Mohamed died on July 6 after an illness.
He is survived by his wife, Ellen , five children and five grandchildren. He will be buried at the Heroes Acre at Croesus, Newclare, at 9.30am after a church service at St Anthony’s Catholic Church in Coronationvile. –