Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Prof Sedick Isaacs 1939-2012

Introduction

He was born in 1939 and grew up in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town in Western Province (now Western Cape) in South Africa.

He was the second of 4 siblings. His father was a businessman in fishing and died when he was 6 years old. His mother worked in embroidery and raised the kids.

Career

He was a schoolteacher and taught Mathematics and Physics.

He was arrested in 1964 and sentenced to 12 years on Robben Island (prisoner #883/64). While in prison, he read and memorized the Quran.

How I met Prof Sedick Isaacs

I met Prof Sedick Isaacs once only when he visited Universiti Sains Malaysia Health Campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan. I was placed in charge of his visit and his wife.

Prof Sedick spoke German, so I said Welkomen and Dankeshon to him. We talked about his life when I interviewed him at Perdana Resort in Pantai Cahaya Bulan, Kelantan, long long ago, back in 1997/98. I have not emailed him for a long long time!

He had a very good story about humanity and imprisonment. We talked about life imprisonment, apartheid, sharks at the Cape, Robben Island and great hope for a free life. What hope is there when one is imprisoned for whatever it was?

Prof. Seddick Isaacs was a hafiz, and a good one too. Imagine if you have nothing else to read in your prison cell and all you have is the Quran. What would you do? The best thing is to recite and commit to memory, and come out a hafiz.

That was what he did for 13 years! He memorised the Quran for 13 boring years at Robben island prison.

A free man again

An active young man, 38-year old Sedick Isaacs was released from Robben Island towards the end of September 1977.

Following his release, he was banned for 7 years and could not find employed. In the meantime, he married a nurse Maraldea in 1979 and they had children.

Re-entering academia

The ban was uplifted in 1986 and he re-entered academia, completing his PhD in Germany in 1990.

He was Honorary Fellow, International Medical Informatics Association in 2010.

He was nominated as a Sports Icon in 2010, for bringing sports to Robben Island.

His memoirs of Robben Island were published in 2010.

He was Companion of Demontford University, UK in 2011.

Demise

He passed away on 18 October 2012 in Cape Town (3 months after this post was first written).

Update 16 October 2017

Today, I found out online that Prof Sedick Isaacs had passed away five years ago on 18 October 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

He wrote a book entitled Surviving in the Apartheid Prison, which was published by Xlibris in 2010.


External links:
http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/sedick-isaacs

http://www.prisonmovies.net/more-than-just-a-game-2007-south-africa

http://newafricanmagazine.com/sedick-isaacs-the-unsung-anti-apartheid-hero/

This is him on the issue of Islamic banking where charges are high:
http://zulkiflihasan.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/high-islamic-banking-fees-irk-customers-in-south-africa/

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