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Struggle vet Alexander dies

Internationally renowned linguist, academic and struggle veteran Neville Alexander made a name for himself from a young age before he became known for his literary work.

He died in Cape Town yesterday at the age of 76. He had not been well for some time.

Alexander was born and bred in Cradock in the Eastern Cape in 1936. After matriculating at Holy Rosary School in Cradock in 1952, Alexander went to the University of Cape Town where he studied German and history.

In 1955 he completed his BA degree and then pursued an honours and a masters degree in German.

At the height of apartheid in the early 1960s, Alexander teamed up with Ottie Abrahams, Dulcie September and Fikile Bam to form the Yu Chi Chan Club, a guerrilla movement based on Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’s art of reforming China. Alexander later changed the name of the organisation to the National Liberation Front (NLF).

Alexander was arrested in 1964 and sentenced to 10 years on Robben Island on charges of attempted sabotage.

Upon his release in 1974 he focused his energies on political and academic work.

He served on the NLF and worked for various organisations, including the South African Committee for Higher Education.

At the time of his death he was the director for the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, based at the University of Cape Town.