Foundation

“The Helen Suzman Foundation believes that a free society is the best guarantor of good governance, stability, economic growth and human development.”

“Established to honour the work of its patron-in-chief, The Helen Suzman Foundation has the aim of strengthening South Africa's relatively new democracy by prompting the principles of liberty, equality of opportunity, individual human rights and respect for the needs of the poor, cultural minorities and the powerless. These principles apply not only in the political sphere, but also in the spheres of development and poverty re-education. Protecting liberty and choice is especially important in counteracting the effects of one-party dominance in emerging democracies like South Africa.”

The Mission Statement of the Helen Suzman Foundation includes strengthening democracy, remaining independent of political parties, promoting freedom in the pursuit of sustainable growth and prosperity, implementing policy research, empowering the disadvantaged, analyzing the dangers to open and responsive democracy and civic freedom in South Africa (and the region), expanding its publishing activities in order to help promote a more vigorous public debate, particularly in The Foundation's journal Focus (The Helen Suzman Foundation website).

Among the many articles and speeches that are featured on her website is a poem written by Lebogang Mashile.  She is largely known in the United States as an actress who appeared in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, which was nominated for an Academy Award.  She is not only a published poet and author, “but an executive producer, actress, independent record producer, corporate and independent event MC, life skills facilitator and television series presenter.”  Her poem serves as one of the many tributes to Helen Suzman and her fight against apartheid and for freedom.

For Helen Suzman

By: Lebogang Mashile

When you have crossed range of mountains
Do you crave the quiet of the valleys
Or the thrills of peaks
Is time your friend
A record of treasured possessions
Which ones do you throw away
Which ones do you keep
Do people know the depths mined
To reach the heights of your accolades
Do they know the heart of the night
Where the stories of the silent remain
In a country made of blinded mouths
What does it take to speak
To speak while others are shouting
To speak while others are dying
To speak while others are silenced
To speak while others are hiding
To speak while the world listens
To speak while the future watches
Its not how fast time moves
It’s the distance
It’s not the answers
It’s the questions
It’s not the sorrow
It’s the lessons
It’s not what is taken
It’s what has been given
It’s not how we die
It’s this life we are living
It’s not how we survive
It’s how we alter the space we live in
It’s not how long we deny
But the moment we give in
It’s not the realm of the wise
But the domain of the children
Which can be seen by the eye
That knows tomorrow before it is lived in
Mrs Suzman tell us what tomorrow looks like
Can you see it in the darkness of prisons
Is it in the look in the eye of a peaceful man
Who is killed in front of his two children
Is it somewhere beyond our own plane and time
Is it inside the walls that we live in
Is it the property of the privileged few
Or is it understanding that humanity is a privilege


Resources

Helen Suzman Foundation website
http://www.hsf.org.za/