Anti-apartheid activist Hain dies at 91

EXILED. Walter Hain.

EXILED. Walter Hain.

Hain attended Arcadia primary school in Pretoria and Parktown High and Pretoria Boys High School.

Former Pretoria anti-apartheid activist Walter Hain, who was jailed and banned before being prevented by the government from working as an architect and forced into exile in Britain in 1966, died peacefully on Friday in Neath, South Wales, aged 91.

Hain married Adelaine Stocks, who was born in Port Alfred, on September 1, 1948. They joined the South African Liberal Party in 1954 and from 1958 became active in its Pretoria branch, he as chairperson, she as secretary.

Because of their anti-apartheid activism, the couple were imprisoned for two weeks without charge in 1961 and then issued with banning orders: Adelaine in 1963 and Walter in 1964.

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As the first married couple to be banned, an embarrassed government was forced to insert special clauses in their banning orders enabling them to talk to each other, as banned persons were normally prevented from communicating.

In March 1966, Walter and Adelaine were forced to leave South Africa because they were deprived of earning an income after the government instructed all architectural firms in Pretoria municipality – to which Walter was restricted by his banning order – from employing him.

The family moved to Britain where they lived in Putney for several decades. Father of leading anti-apartheid campaigner and former Labour Cabinet minister and Neath MP, Peter Hain, now Lord Hain, Walter was born on December 29, 1924 in Durban.

He attended Arcadia primary school in Pretoria and Parktown High and Pretoria Boys High School.

He gained his degree in architecture at the University of Witwatersrand, later specialising in the design of hospital laboratories. He was a Springbok rugby fan and South African cricket supporter.

He also followed football as a keen Chelsea FC fan. Walter and Adelaine have 11 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

He was active in the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and a founder of Architects Against Apartheid. In 2009 Walter and Adelaine moved to Neath, South Wales.

“Walter devoted his life to the struggle for freedom in South Africa. He had a brilliant mind and never lost his belief in the greatness of this country,” said Hugh Lewin, who served a seven-year prison sentence in Pretoria for anti-apartheid sabotage.


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