BISHOP DAVID RUSSELL: ‘An outstanding religious leader and a true patriot’ – SACP Eastern Cape

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - AUGUST 19, 2014

Retired Anglican Bishop of Grahamstown, Bishop David Russell, who died of cancer in Cape Town on Monday was "an outstanding religious leader and a true patriot" the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape has said in a statement.

“We remember him as one of outstanding religious leaders who took the side of the poor and weak at all times. It is us in the Eastern Cape whom he led from the front in the struggles against forced removals and illegal eviction in the farms.

“He worked fearlessly with the people of Dimbaza who were victims of forced removals in Thornhill and dumped in Dimbaza and suffered injustice under the repression of both the South African and Ciskei government,” the SACP said.

“We remember Bishop David Russell as one of many white South Africans who were actively part of the struggle for freedom, equal rights and justice. He led many marches and protests against the unjust apartheid, he refused to take permit from the apartheid police and said ‘he has permit from God’. This was part of defying the apartheid system and rendering it unworkable as it was a crime against humanity.”

The SACP said Bishop Russell would be remembered for his striking bravery.

“…he at times laid down in front of the bulldozer to stop demolition of houses during force removals.

“He might not have been rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize but was deeply a man of peace and true justice for the poor and marginalized,” the SACP said.

“We deep our red banner down in paying respect to this remarkable South African and a true patriot. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, the religious fraternity, people he struggled with and for, and all South Africans.”

Photo caption: The Anglican Church in Grahamstown. Photo courtesy of blog.sa.