Dec 7 2012 by Colin Rutherford, Kilmarnock Standard
A Kilmarnock-born heroine of the struggle against apartheid was this week due to receive a posthumous medal for bravery from South African President Jacob Zuma.
Eleanor Kasrils is due to be honoured at ceremony in Pretoria today (Thursday).
Born Eleanor Logan, she was only a year old when she left Scotland for South Africa with her parents.
She later became involved in politics as a member of the South African Congress of Democrats and, in 1963, became only the second white woman in the country to be arrested for her political activities.
Eleanor was married for almost 45 years to Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent veteran of the anti-apartheid movement and later minister of intelligence in Nelson Mandela’s government.
The two were members of the South African Communist Party, the African National Congress and its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.
After Eleanor’s arrest in 1963 she was the subject of intense interrogation and physical abuse, but managed to escape from the security police.
She and Ronnie spent the following 30 years in exile, first in Tanzania and later in London.
Eleanor Kasrils died in November 2009 at the age of 73.
Paying tribute, Nelson Mandela described her as a “genteel and elegant Scottish woman”.