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A Tribute to Ibrahim Vawda

Integrity: in a world completely void of it, Ibrahim Vawda was a perpetual epitome of it. I have not had the privilege of meeting a man with more integrity than uncle Ibrahim, a quality I always very much admired.

Working with uncle Ibrahim at the Media Review Network and on a personal basis is something I will always treasure. It was an honour to be in contact with somebody whose devotion to justice and principles were so completely untainted and true. Honesty and integrity went hand in hand with uncle Ibrahim, and whilst he would sacrifice nearly anything in the pursuit of truth, one could always rely on the fact that it would be done with an unwavering sense of purpose and sincerity.

Uncle Ibrahim was stern yet kind- I knew that if I ever asked him for advice or an opinion, I would get the unadulterated truth, but never in a hurtful manner. He was reliable and patient, with a zest and enthusiasm that would put many of my generation to shame. It is with the fondest memories that I will remember this giant in the realm of justice, with a quick and occasionally naughty sense of humor!

In the world of activism, there are many things that need to be done that are not glorious or in the spotlight and often, finding people to do these tasks is always difficult. Despite being a prior principal, an accomplished man in many regards and older than most of us in both age and wisdom, one could always rely on uncle Ibrahim in doing ANY task that needed attending to. Through this, he taught me humility, another trait so very scarce in our world today.

I cannot imagine a life going forward without his sound wisdom, his sharp mind, his pure heart and contagious laughter. Uncle Ibrahim was like a dad to many of us on the path of pursuing truth and justice, and I will always regret not having spent more time in his presence to absorb some of his rare yet invaluable qualities. The downtrodden and vulnerable mourn you today dearest uncle Ibrahim, your unwavering dedication and beautiful character will be sorely missed.

Dr Aayesha J Soni is a medical doctor and member of the Media Review Network (MRN). She was also named as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans of 2017/ 100 Young Mandelas of the Future 2018.