The well-known Dutch human rights activist Klaas de Jonge has died at the age of 85. De Jonge became known in the 1980s for his fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. To escape arrest, he spent months in a room at the Dutch embassy.
Anthropologist De Jonge came into contact with members of the South African liberation movement ANC in Mozambique. He and his wife Hélène Passtoors joined the group and started smuggling weapons. In 1985, De Jonge was caught with a car full of weapons and explosives.
After his arrest, he managed to flee into the Dutch embassy in Pretoria. He would eventually stay there for months. After a year and a half he was able to leave the embassy because of a prisoner exchange. He returned to the Netherlands and from here devoted himself to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.
De Jonge had been suffering from prostate cancer for some time. Last Wednesday he said goodbye to friends and old comrades, writes NRC. On Liberation Day he also said goodbye to life.
Klaus did it
“’Doing nothing is also a choice’ Klaas used to say, a quote from Sartre. The same was true of his own life. “If you can do something, you should do it.” And Klaas did it,” reports Marlou van den Berge on her website. The documentary she made, Klaas de Jonge, the Prize of Freedom, can be seen on NPO 2 on May 25 at 10:10 pm.
Correspondent for de Volkskrant Jenne Jan Holtland, who wrote the book De courier van Maputo about De Jonge, recalls him on Twitter as an “anthropologist, adventurer, human rights activist, solidarity with the disenfranchised, a tall tree that is no longer there”.
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