Gerald V Kraak
(1956 - 2014)

Gerald V Kraak

South Africa
November 29, 1956

South Africa
October 19, 2014

writer, grant-maker, film-maker, war resister, human rights activist and all round great human being
Guest Book
Just reread Andre's beautiful tribute today, New Year's Day 2015, thinking of old and absent friends. Gerald touched and warmed so many lives. Best love to Andre and all family and friends starting this new year without Gerald.
Sue Myrdal (Friend)
January 1st, 2015
On Nov 12, Dutch friends and former colleagues held a small memorial meeting in Amsterdam. This is what we wanted to share with each other, and with his relatives and friends in South Africa and elsewhere.

* * *
Loes van den Bergh

Gerald was for me a sympathetic colleague in the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. He brought something of the South African reality into our world, enriching our involvement and motivation.

* * *
Ireen Dubel

We had an intimate get together today, a commemoration in Amsterdam of persons who have known Gerald from his early days in the Netherlands but also from his recent days in South Africa. For all of us, Dutch persons yes, it was a good gathering, sharing our memories, experiences, stories about Gerald, being with Gerald and with each other. Sharing also the history and politics of the past decades. Last weekend the news in the Netherlands was fully focused on the fall of the Berlin war. There were no stories/analysis of the implications of that for Southern Africa, e.g. the end of the Cold War had a major impact in terms of the war/occupation of Namibia and Angola. Yet we know how important that was, also for the return of the ANC and SWAPO to their countries of home.
But back to Gerald, we shared stories. We discovered what we did not know about Gerald. We filled gaps, and we laughed and cried. We promised to Peter, to write down our stories for you in South Africa.
I hope, beloved friends and intimate relatives of Gerald that you find solace in the fact that Gerald had many friends in different part of the world and especially in the Netherlands. He developed those friendships during his years of exile and he left a big imprint which survived the 1994 euphoria of your first democratic elections. He pursued the struggle for justice, democracy, inclusivity and equality and so do we.
Moral support to you in these difficult days of feeling the depth of the loss.

Warmest, Ireen
* * *
Evelien Groenink

I only knew Gerald via Bart, but the only independent memory that I have of him is one of ga lad surprise that he was such a ‘’Mensch’’.
I knew that he was involved in charity funding and was therefore reluctant to ask him for money for my (many) projects. Someone who is continuously surrounded by people who want money from him, would of course not appreciate it to get money request from friends too.
Nevertheless on one day – I do not remember whether it was at a party at Bart’s but that was where we occasionally met – I said in a slip of my tongue that the women in the 'maintenance court' in Johannesburg were seeking assistance for their efforts to let their runaway husbands contribute to the maintenance of their children, but always were rebuffed. The sherriff should summon the runaway men and if necessary take the maintenance money from their bank accounts, but that never happened.
The sherriff and his officials got their salaries by maintaining a sort of bureaucratic treadmill in which women had to appear time and again without any effect. Some of these women were fed up of that and had formed a committee that tried to get money for an advice office, private detectives, taxis for disadvantaged women as well as for organised protests against the absurd bureaucracy.
In the weeks after I forgot having spoken to Gerald about this. Until I once more met him (at Bart’s?) and he said casually that he had found money for the committee at the Kellogs Cornflakes Foundation.
The maintenance court operations have not gained that much, but certainly a little bit from that money. In any case there is now an arrangement in which a man sees his child maintenance money deducted from his salary if he has failed to turn up three times in maintenance court, and that money is then automatically transferred to the mother.

Gerald was great.
* * *
Maud Kortbeek

A beautiful day with Gerald

Gerald and I were never close friends, but we were both activists in the Dutch AAM, and it was always a pleasure to see him, make jokes and laugh together. There was an obvious mutual appreciation and liking.
My strongest memory of Gerald, however, has nothing to do with our anti-apartheid work. It was on a rather cold Queens Day, 29 April beginning 1980s. On Queens Day, Amsterdam is flocked with partying people, celebrating, drinking, making music, selling stuff. One gets easily lost in the crowd. I met Gerald in the middle of this craziness, we had both lost our group and went on together. We had such a good time! I felt like we were two lost souls looking for togetherness. We laughed and talked a lot and had real fun; Gerald was great company! We ended up in a lovely bar where we got beautifully drunk together drinking cocktails.

* * *
Jos Leenhouts

As a more than 30 year long friendship gives you a lot, the end of your friendship takes a lot. Only activation of memories helps to enjoy what you got and Gerald gave a lot. And we were happy to see that he enjoyed his giving love and attention to us.
The most important base of my love and appreciation was that Gerald helped to learn about South Africa. Anti-apartheid activists were not supposed to visit that country; our Dutch history even made us suspects of compliance to apartheid and I am proud, that even before I knew Gerald I was the initiator of a struggle at my (gereformeerde) University to abolish the compulsory lectures of philosophy that were based on the same ideas as the apartheid government was based on.
Boycott them, boycott apartheid, but then it was Gerald who really convinced us not only to fight apartheid by boycotting, but also by seeing and experiencing the life in that country; the country he had left, the country that he in spite of all loved.
So we had to overcome all kinds of resistance in ourselves, but especially the anger of our fellow activists to go there; but we did!
Through Gerald we met many people, we saw the pain, but a lot of people fighting, being brave to overcome all the troubles that were caused by apartheid.
Meeting them, seeing the townships, visiting the “thuislande”; crossing the borders from white to black, from the Afrikaanders to the indigenous, original people (too many no longer in his or her original place, too few together with their own family) seeing the huts for the “maids”, seeing the long long rows of men on their way from the “homelands” to the mines waiting to cross the border.
But also experiencing that buses don’t stop for you, that the women’s toilet is not for you, you have to go to the “ladies”. Talking in the students houses of Gerald’s may friends who stayed behind about their role in the anti-apartheid war, their time in prison, their experience with the spies.
This trip in 1982 was crucial in the real binding to what happened and what apartheid meant; of course we were outsiders, we looked like all the well-educated whities, but we got the feel more than just BY reading books, seeing television; no we felt the tensions, the unjustness of it all very close to our body and soul!
Without Gerald and his passion, his stubbornness, we would never have had these experiences and the possibility to look back now and to realize what has been won and what a long way is still to go. We got to know his family, his friends , his choices in life, that was a real big, big thing for me personally and my personality.
That was what Gerald did for me, I miss him!
That was what Gerald did for me and I am very happy to have all those SA friends, that came to us through him!
I could learn, see, reflect and just enjoy his country and we will go on doing that; thanks to him and sorry without him in real life.
* * *
Bart Luirink

Early nineties. Lucia introduces me to Gerald. He’s visiting Amsterdam. It’s the beginning of a friendship. I’m given bits and pieces of a young life already lived intensely – exile, underground, being gay. We talk change. South Africa has entered its age of transformation. Not much later Gerald breaks a depressing absence and returns. I move to Johannesburg in 1993. Our friendship continues.
Sunday afternoons in his Becker Street backyard. Sharing exciting ideas. Getting all the encouragement for still somewhat vague projects. Watching movies. Tears and laughter after incomplete romantic journeys.
We drive to Wakkerstroom – never heard of the place. We end up at this cosy cottage in the autumn mist. Only after I have decided to join the group and return to what I can now call ‘my property’ I become aware of the mountains the cottage faces. The birds. The trees. This tasteful, well designed second hand design. Our cottage breathes Gerald.
‘What is life more than the acquisition of memories?’, Downton Abbey’s chief of staff Carson wonders in one of the episodes of the series. Too short a life, sure. So rich and intense and full of memories, definitely.

* * *
Frans Mom

From my mail to Gerald in March 2011: ‘’It was the first time since 2004 that I visited South Africa again, on the occasion of the conference African Same Sex Sexualities in Pretoria last month.
I had hoped to get a chance of meeting you at that event but things worked out differently. Instead of having met you physically I met you by reading your book Ice in the Lungs in the days of my stay in South Africa. This alternative has pleased me a lot, I read your book at once in a kind of trance. What a story, fascinating! Probably it sounds strange but it helped me to have felt myself again at ease in South Africa, almost experienced the sensation to be very close to the main characters in the chapters of your book. It is a temptation to wait for another story from your hands and as I am well informed you are working on that. That's great!’’

My wish to hear more stories from Gerald’s was fulfilled yesterday during a kind and warm meeting of Dutch friends at the premises of ZAM in Amsterdam, in memory of Gerald. The reading by Ireen and Peter of some chapters of his unpublished writings, in particular based on his time in Amsterdam, was for all of us very special and emotional indeed. Hopefully these chapters will find their way to the Publisher.

* * *
Kier Schuringa

I am a former anti-apartheid activist and now in charge of the anti-apartheid and Southern African collection of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I got to know Gerald in the early 1980s when he was working with the Holland Committee on Southern Africa, where he was in charge of their activities for political prisoners in South Africa, especially those sentenced to death. Since I had a similar role with the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement we both participated in quite a few meetings and events on this issue. For instance this picket line on a busy square in the centre of Amsterdam in April 1984 protesting against the death sentence for ANC guerrilla Benjamin Moloise, with Gerald standing on the far left.From 1993, when I was allowed to visit South Africa, I met Gerald occasionally in Johannesburg, either for lunch or a drink or at the offices of Interfund and later Atlantic Philantropies. The last time we met was during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July 2013, when my girlfriend Maud and I spent an evening with him dining in a local restaurant, reminiscing about the past and talking about his plans for the future - which unfortunately didn't materialise.

Another photograph of a Holland Committee on Southern Africa action in front of the US embassy in The Hague, February 1982, protesting against the support from the US to the apartheid regime in South Africa:

Peter Sluiter

This is what I said to Gerald, his family + friends at the funeral service:

Dear friends, dear Krakies, dear Gerald,

There are few things more beautiful than returning to South Africa for the umpteenth time, and walk under the blossoming Jacaranda trees to your flat. Through you, Jos and I learned to love this country.
Let me share with you, how we first realised how much you yourself loved this country, which you also hated so much for so many good reasons at the time: the good-old early 1980s when it was so clear who and what was right and wrong . You had finally sorted out your Dutch passport and we co-travelled by car to Portugal. Driving through the plains in Northern Spanish we suddenly heard funny noises from the back of the car, you were sniffing and sobbing ‘’This is just like the Karoo’’. Which it was, though I find the Karoo even more beautiful.
Today I gave one of our last holiday pictures to Mercia, a portrait of you against sunset over the Orange river in Upington, normally a city to avoid at all costs (you used far more rude language ….). But on Zakkie’s arkie, on our way to the Kalahari in what we did not know would be our last shared holiday, everything was beautiful. We framed the picture in a simple and wise poem by Jules Deelder, I will read it in Dutch which you still understood much better than you wish to admit:
‘Alles blijft’
‘Alles gaat voorbij’
‘Alles blijft voorbijgaan’
(though hard to keep the tone and double meaning of the original: everything remains, everything passes by, everything keeps passing by)

As always, we brought you some goodies from The Netherlands, another county that you loved and hated, also for good though less dramatic reasons. We will share them at lunch, but I will leave one piece here for you, a tulip bulb named ‘’Victor Mundi – conqueror of the world’’. You did not succeed in becoming that, but you made an effort and came a long way. And of course the tulip is red, dark red!
Then let me assure you that many things gaan voorbij, but our love will never nooit voorbij gaan. We will come back, Jos and I, and we will walk under the blossoming jacaranda trees and – godverdomme, another Dutch word that you still knew – you, our best friend in South Africa, will walk with us.

Amandla !
* * *

Two of us also read fragments from his unfinished manuscript The lure of Europe, based on the months immediately after his arrival in Amsterdam, in de facto political exile. This is the second book of what was to become a trilogy. We do hope that at as many parts as possible, and why not the whole manuscript, will be edited where needed and made available to a wider public.
Peter Sluiter (friend - former colleague)
November 28th, 2014
My thoughts have been with Gerald's family and close friends, especially those who cared for him during his illness.
I'd not seen or been in touch with Gerald for a number of years - mainly due to our move to Paris in 2012. But one always assumes that old friends will always be there ...
Gerald's gentle smile and voice are still so fresh in my memory. My memories of him during our time in London are of such a wonderful, supportive friend. He was also a supportive colleague in the IDAF Research section. Then memories of him when we lived in Grahamstown where he visited for work and festivals, sometimes staying with us.
I wish I could have been at his memorial service but this site has helped those of us who couldn't be there to try come to terms with his passing.
Gerald, you will always be remembered!
Jeanne Berger (Friend)
November 18th, 2014
A Meditation on Certain Times and Places
(Celebrating the life of Gerald Kraak at his wake*)

Joburg –
The cold facts first.
Creeping into secret crevices
Closing down organs
Snatching breath

Almost stealing hope

Too soon
Too soon
Then the slipping slipping
Quietly away……….

Amsterdam –
I am not fighting for ‘them’
I refuse to be part of the problem
How I miss you all

I will not twiddle my thumbs
We must build our own anti-army
Of resistors
How I miss you all

The politics on the outside
Almost as scary
As the politics on the inside
How I miss you all

I will not be settled
I am not resident
Please visit when you can
How I miss you all

How I miss you all

London –
It’s nice out.

Those long night strolls
Through Highbury Fields and Finsbury Park
To the pub
The fickle English
Their living caricatures
Of Cor Blimey and Watcha Mate!

Archway North London –
The claustrophobia of exile politics
Relieved only by countless movies
And an abundance of live music
An occasional glass of vino
And a whiskey
Or Two…..
Four, Six, Eight
Motorway with the Tom Robinson Band
Jo Strummer’s London Calling
Coming to life
Thatcher’s strife
And King Arthurs glorious Flying Pickets

And all in Defence and Aid
Of those at home
Imprisoned and abused
By the absurdity
Of a merciless racial stratification

And the great lumbering cart horse
Of the British TUC
Showing what not to become
To the new emerging giant at home
Intent on Breaking the Chains
Threatening to shake down
Both the shrill desiccated certainties
Of the Cold War apparatchiks
And the comfortable semi-comatose
In their citadels of privilege

Away the cynical secretive securocrats
On both sides
Away then
Away now!

Even from afar
The whiff of compromise
Hung and stung in the air

Coming Home –
How we discussed the possibilities
Of what had to be done!
At picnics
In meetings
At parties
At work
Our jaws ached from talking

But before long
The sharp contrasts that once drove us
Fudged into shades of grey
Grey suits
Grey beards
Grey minds
Polished heads!

And courage was suddenly required
To restate the simplest of changes that were needed
Changes so artfully and convincingly articulated
That for a moment
They were adopted as the norm

But not for very long
As the fearful and vested interests
Exerted and inserted themselves
Preserving only
A once heroic
Once seductive
But now
An empty cloying rhetoric

Being Home –
So many of us were lost along the way
Some of us were not
And used our skills from exile
To became facilitators
Of space
Of enquiry
Of movement
Of surreptitious rebellion
Of an Other Foundation
Even when imprisoned
In a wretched project log frame

It was one way to continue
And we worked hard and did
For as long as we could

Staying Home –
Many of us
Go about our lives
In the not so new dispensation
Bemoaning still
The ugly separateness
In our almost monochrome dinner parties
Our almost monochrome social lives
Can it really be
That only the blurred margins
Of the elite
Have changed?

Always Home –
Most of those old friendships
Forged in the hell that was
Remain welded
And essential

New friendships
Have given encouragement to keep on
To stay outside of luxurious paralysis
To Feel the Ice in the Lungs
To still feel the rumble of movement
Not fully lost
To be alert to possibility
Even when it required
A double shot on the rocks
To really rock!

Heart –
A siblings child
Leaps into a swimming pool

I watch as a precious god-child
Stretches upwards and overtakes me

And I am alive and happy

This confirms the difference
Between being alone
And being lonely

Never really alone
Given all those
Down down the years
Who have reached out
Keen to ensure
A special continuity
Celebrated today
With an outpouring
Of love
And laughter.


*The Wake Today
In more recent times a wake is a social gathering held after a funeral or, in Ireland, often after the death but before the funeral. Traditionally people drink and talk about the dead person, and there is a happy jovial atmosphere.
*The Wake in Fluid Dynamics
In fluid dynamics, a wake is the region of disturbed flow (usually turbulent) downstream of a solid body moving through a liquid, caused by the flow of the fluid around it. In incompressible fluids such as water, this results in a wave. As with all wave forms it spreads outward from the source, usually until its energy is overcome or lost by friction or dispersion, but its impact can be considerable and lasting.
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Stephen Faulkner (Comrade and Friend)
November 6th, 2014
To Gerald:

Dear mother of Gerald, dear Andre and the Kraak family!

Dear, dear Gerald, - dammit! It was not time for you to go! - I had cherished this idea that you and I would sit in old age, somewhere on a bench under a tree, and review the storms in our lives. And, we would talk about the passion with which we gave ourselves to the struggle, and the wisdom we both had to distance ourselves from those comrades who, once they assumed power, forgot about the egalité we believe in and we thought they believed in. Gerald, it was not time for you to go!

Your contributions to a better world and the common good have been recorded and the outpouring of grief is testimony to your rich life.

I first met Gerald in exile. He came to the Netherlands to escape being drafted into the SADF. He was part of a brave new wave of whites that said no to apartheid. I was already in exile, not to avoid the army but to avoid re-detention and a likely jail term. There in Amsterdam, you came and stayed with us in our Kraakpand – our squat. Other resisters had already come to The Netherlands but you were the one with a clear political and tactical understanding. This was important.

I had recently established a formal relationship with ANC structures in exile. You were one war resister who grasped that concerted and organised action to fight apartheid was the only way to end it. I therefore introduced you to the person I reported to in the ANC. Because of your grasp and your energy to build links with resisters in and outside of South Africa you soon worked directly with the ANC. In the parlance of John le Carré we both reported to a handler. He was Aziz Pahad, subsequently Deputy Foreign Minister. You must have written, le Carré-style, countless de-briefing reports – sussing out military information from those who went into the army, whilst at the same time opening up the climate for the resister movement to grow larger.

The purpose of our action was to re-build ANC and ANC-friendly structures inside South Africa. Gerald, you displayed the right temperament, the right approach to confidentiality and dependability. You also had the personality - you were a magnate to whom people came and with whom they were willing to develop underground communications.

Your type of work was instantly seen as a threat to the apartheid state and it is not surprising that Craig Williamson soon played his hand in the resister community. Was it the sixth or was it the seventh resister who came to Amsterdam between 1978 and 1979, who turned out to be a spy, albeit a reluctant spy? The poor man, I seem to recall his name was Phillips, son of a prosperous sugar plantation farmer, had joined us as a ‘resister-refugee’ in return for which the police would not reveal his being gay, to his homophobic father and SADF officer-brother. Phillips soon cracked and confessed to us that he was ‘working for the other side’. For a while, he told us what his SB-handlers were up to but we could not trust him and when Williamson & Co realised this he was withdrawn and emerged in another terrain of struggle: Southern Rhodesia. Like others, he will have ended up in the dreadful no-mans-land of turncoats.

It was through Phillips that we gained insight how the SBs ‘paid’ their agents in Holland: A South African woman working in a hotel kitchen in Amsterdam would hand packages of dagga to them – all neatly parcelled up by the SA Embassy in the Hague. If you said the right pass word, her arm protruded from a basement window and the hapless agent was sent on his way.

Gerald, remember, you also helped piece together the activities of Dr Aubrey Levine. He was the man who specialised in ‘treating’ gay men in the army to become straight. Aversion therapy, including electric shocks was his stock in trade. He held a senior rank in the SADF. Much later, in 1992, now back in Johannesburg, it turned out to be the same Dr Levine who invited Christine and I to have tea with in his Houghton home. Christine had started work in the then white health ministry, soon to be integrated into the other segregated health systems. Levine, it turned out became her boss. He hoped to find his way to a senior ANC official. He asked if I could help and introduce him to the highest ANC person I knew? When asked why, he said he needed to clear up a ‘little’ matter. When pressed to say more he told us that he was present, in his role as a medical doctor, when people like Steve Biko, Mapetla Mohapi and others were being tortured to death. He was worried that his name would be revealed once the TRC got going. He assured us that he was not culpable; in fact, he said, he wanted to save their lives. He wanted to ‘clear’ his name. – We duly reported our conversation to the ANC. This aspect of his complicity with apartheid did sadly not feature in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – yet another case of unfinished business that burdens our country to this day. As many of you probably know, Aubrey Levine is currently serving a prison term in Canada for sexually assaulting his male patients.

I moved to London in 1979 and a few years later you joined me at the head office of the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (IDAF). Amongst Gerald’s research duties was to cull from the SA media any information, no matter how small the snippet was, to build and constantly update our database of those involved in acts against the apartheid state, whether throwing stones or planting bombs or often by simply attending a gathering (and facing the charge of ‘common purpose’). The database included anyone arrested, detained without charge, standing trial or sentenced to imprisonment. If possible, we wanted to establish the police station or prison they were held in. Equally important was where his or her hometown was. IDAF’s objective was to assist with the overthrow of apartheid in three ways:

First was to secure a lawyer for the person incarcerated, whether charged or not. At its height IDAF had appointed and paid no less than 175 attorneys and advocates, acting ‘on our behalf’ without them knowing they got money from a banned organisation. A system of subterfuge and ruses ensured that no lawyer was ever charged for getting money or instructions from IDAF. IDAF, despite being banned (in SA) until 1990, ‘spirited’ millions of Rands into the country each year. In this way we ensured that all political opponents, irrespective of which liberation structure they were part of, were defended. A good defence was important in a court system where judges frequently imposed the death sentence. Although IDAF was not the only provider of legal aid, the task was vast: In the mid 1980’s there were up to 30,000 people held on political charges. Huge numbers amongst those detained were children.

The second objective of IDAF was to provide modest financial support to the families of those languishing on Robben Island and other jails. Thousands of families received, on a regular basis, sometimes for as long as twenty years, money for school fees or for the cost of a train ticket to Robben Island once a year to visit a loved one.

The third objective was to research and publish, without ideological bias, everything about apartheid and what made it so abhorrent. Gerald you qualified as a good researcher and drafted many texts that were subsequently published. The IDAF books appeared in English, French, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, German and other languages. To build the pressure that would eventually break the apartheid state we believed, everyone should know objective and well researched basis the facts about racism and exploitation in South Africa, occupied Namibia and Southern Rhodesia.

It should be said that we kept our IDAF and our ANC work meticulously apart. Both organisations also wanted it that way.

Gerald, you fitted well into the IDAF staff team. Half of us were SA exiles; the other half people from London who wanted to show solidarity with us in our struggle. As a quirky bit of history I want to add that amongst the non South African staff, several female staff had originally come from Caribbean countries, from Ghana and Zimbabwe. Many of these young single women had the wish that Gerald might yield to their advances, even dreaming of marrying you, Gerald. Alas, for them, this was not to be.

Hamba kahle, Gerald! You fought a good fight!

Horst Kleinschmidt (Friend and colleague)
November 4th, 2014
We have found a home for your cats
(for Gerald Vincent Kraak)

“Do not call before nine thirty”, you used to say
But we knew what you really meant was: Do not call before midday.

“It’s that time of year again”,
That’s how your birthday party invitations often began.

A consummate host, a gourmet cook,
A bottle of wine or whisky on your side.
You gave love, you made us laugh.

On the walls of your welcoming home:
Pictures of beautiful men, posters of activism,
Books of the universe, music of the heart.

Your foresight did not end with insights,
It leaped into creations for all to behold.
In your world, dreams do become reality.

A ground breaking visionary: you cared deeply,
With dignity and courage you left us behind.
And today we’d like you to know:

We have found a home for your cats.

By Makhosazana Xaba 01 November 2014
Makhosazana Xaba (Friend / Writing Group me)
November 3rd, 2014
i was one of a privileged group of people who worked alongside gerald at international defence and aid fund in london in the late 1980's - what strikes me on reflection was the grace with which gerald held the responsibility of his enormous intelligence - no mean feat !
farewell comrade
george tobias (work colleague)
November 3rd, 2014
21 October 2014

GERALD KRAAK: A man for all Causes
Tribute to a comrade and friend

The wonderful, lovely, visionary Gerald Kraak died on 19 October 2014 of cancer at the relatively young age of 57. Gerald was known to many South Africans, but unknown to many more who should be aware of the gentle human beings who work behind the scenes to keep dignity, equality and justice alive.

This tribute is as much for those who didn’t know Gerald as those who did.

I first met Gerald in 1993 at the opening night of the first annual Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, a cultural event he supported until 2013. I started collaborating with him through an introduction by Zackie Achmat. An interim Constitution in South Africa (SA) had been approved and Zackie was mobilising many of us to work towards retaining in the final Bill of Rights its guarantee of equality for all.

Gerald worked at Interfund at the time, a donor organisation established in the late 80s in the UK that supported NGOs and social movements working for a democratic South Africa. In this guise he would be part of a small group of activists working in grant-making to form what we then called the Funders for Gay and Lesbian Equality. There were many meetings of different groups in 1994 as a build up to the national conference that launched the Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE) in December 1994. Gerald was present in many, both helping to answer questions on how we were going to fund this momentous process for change, as well as contributing to discussions of how to build an LGBTI movement concerned with broad social and economic struggles – equality for all as we said at the time.

We won many of those early battles and established South Africa as a country where, at least under the law, LGBTI people could live with dignity and equality.

Between 2001 and 2007 I lived in Ecuador and for a while Gerald slipped out of my life, but when I returned to SA towards the end of 2007 and joined the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP) our relationship grew closer. I enjoyed the mutual respect we shared. Discussions to try and understand the “new enemy” of inequality in South African struggles and the necessary roles of LGBTI people in forming public opinion were continuous. Reflecting his analytical thinking, Gerald was always concerned about bringing to the fore the lessons of the NCGLE, especially insisting that we question why its fourth objective was not achieved: the creation of a politicised and representative LGBTI movement in SA. We agreed that a movement was created around achieving the three other objectives of the NCGLE- largely constitutional and legislative - but without a shared vision and mission that linked us to social and economic equality for all marginalised and poor people it would be hard to forge a conscious and representative LGBTI movement.

As many will know, the LGEP was in crisis in 2007, having moth-balled for almost two years and being almost written off from making any contribution to LGBTI struggles in SA. I came in as Director at the request of the then Board and with the support of Gerald and Atlantic Philanthropies, another progressive donor to which Gerald had been appointed in 2001, I was asked to help think about how best to articulate LGBTI plights within the larger political landscape of SA. This was a huge task but one that Gerald understood as necessary and requiring a process-oriented approach as opposed to a project expressed in a logframe. This process, we realized, involved patience to build cadres within all movements for progressive change. Real change takes time.

In greater detail, Gerald believed in the rich political strategic document that the Board of the LGEP adopted in 2010, in particular, its emphasis on movement building as a transversal element to all the work. Key were the notions of locating other struggles within the LGBTI movement and locating LGBTI people’s struggles within other progressive movements. As we saw it, this would eliminate the perception and/or reality of LGBTI groups operating in silos. The good work we were able to do between 2008 and 2012 at the LGEP would not have been possible without Gerald’s constant commitment to explore new points of entry for LGBTI struggles, namely the many excluded townships of Mzansi.

There are many who have reflected on Gerald’s role and support for a functioning LGBTI network – a coalition – thus the formation of the Joint Working Group in 2003. By the end of the days of the Joint Working Group, reflecting his incredible capacity for auto-criticism, Gerald invited activists to think hard on the shortcomings of both the NCGLE and the JWG so as to inspire the building of a truly multi-faceted LGBTI movement in Southern Africa.

As a comrade who understood international solidarity it was only natural that Gerald would support and join our quest to better address and advance queer struggles throughout Africa. He joined Hakima Abbas, Carla Sutherland and myself in helping to frame the historic meeting Winning and Defending LGBTI Equality in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya in April 2010 [Co-hosted by the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project and Fahamu with the support of the Arcus Foundation].

Very much in this spirit, the years 2009 to 2013 saw Gerald put in a lot of work and resources to thinking of a community LGBTI foundation. He engaged in research, and commissioned various studies to actually help answer the question of whether it was possible and sustainable. This is a demonstration of his thoroughness at planning and in many ways working steps ahead to eliminate possible failures for the projects he so strongly believed in.

I was fortunate to be among the JWG activists who were consulted in 2010 by Gerald, together with Jon Campbell and Barry Smith, friends and grant-makers since Interfund days, on the concept of a community foundation: having activists play an active role in both mobilising resources for social change as well as defining the agenda for change. Very happy to have collaborated to see come to life. The historic donor tour in January 2013, hosting US and European high-net worth persons to hear the case for supporting the idea, and the great celebration in August 2013 at the first sitting of The Other Foundation’s Board of Directors were some of the highlights of the last years for us.

But Gerald stood for social justice broadly. Beyond LGBTI causes, Gerald believed in rights of access to healthcare services, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, migrants and refugees, arts and culture, and creative writing. I recall Gerald convening various colleagues and friends working in philanthropy to set up a fund to support migrants and refuges after the terrible so-called xenophobic attacks in 2008. In 2006 he brought together various funders to establish the Multi Agency Grants Initiative (MAGI), a fund which Gerald saw as necessary in order to ensure that small, community based groups could access funds without excessive bureaucratic requirements.

Those close to him knew that the closure of the Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) programmes and offices in South Africa had a toll on Gerald. He tried to find ways in which the work that he supported through AP would continue with new financial resources. He was proud of the proposed community centre to be built in Khayelitsha, that he helped secure funds for, which will one day house movements including Social Justice Coalition, Equal Education, and Treatment Action Campaign.

The end of 2013 was tough. The AP in SA was closing and Gerald was sad but also excited by plans to begin a new chapter of his life. On his list, which was not short, mirroring his dynamism were to complete his novel, sequel to Ice in the Lungs, help the AP finalise its relations in SA, and build the legacy funds he had helped to start, including the Other Foundation. More than anything he looked forward to a much needed rest and some disconnection from the active public life he had through his work.

This is what makes his death all the more untimely and so so sad.

Truly, Gerald gave so much of himself to so many people and causes. These completed his broad vision of the world but also depleted much of his energy. In this sense it is not shocking that Gerald fell seriously ill within months of the closing of AP. In May 2014 he was diagnosed with cancer and he began treatment immediately. His colleague and great friend Jann Otto, and long-time friends Didi Moyle and Patti McDonald were constantly there throughout the most difficult and painful phase of Gerald’s life.

Finally, on a more intimate note, Gerald, with all his active public life, was actually a very shy man. He loved Sweet-thing and Lovemore, his two cats. He loved his family very much and often spoke fondly of his mother, Ma Mercia. He always recognised the important role MaRose (Rosy) played in organising his home life. He cherished his friendships.Our friend and comrade Hugh McLean wrote this to me on Gerald’s passing: “Gerald reminds us of what is important in life. Work on what you believe in and love your friends.”

Gerald was a very fun friend to be around. He was a great cook and shared his knowledge and love for books and art with warmth and generosity. I will always remember our ‘Mombasa moment’ in 2010 when Gerald, Carla and I enjoyed a night of skinny-dipping in the Indian ocean after a game of poker and a few whiskeys.

Gerald’s great suggestion for naming our almost one-year old daughter was as Geraldine, something we would laugh about a lot.

Gerald passed away 19 October 2014, a month short of his 59th birthday.

I guess we will enjoy tripe, chicken feet and heads in another life.

Lala kahle my dear friend, brother and comrade, Gerald.
Ngiyabonga kakhulu Gerald, for your dedication to our struggles.
Ngiyabonga for your love, care and friendship over the years.
I will always be inspired by you.

Lala ngokuthula qabane! No more pain! Yours is done! Ours continues!

Lala kahle Gerald!

Phumi Mtetwa (Friend & Colleague)
November 1st, 2014
Gerald has flown into the blue now.

How shockingly early seems his departure, causing many of us, his London comrades, to reflect upon our shared 80s years, reminding us that this is who we were, this is what we did.

I worked for a time in the office of the Committee of South African War Resistance with Roger Field.

Gerald, one editor of the committee's journal- Resister- was a constant presence, gentle, kind, formidable, firm, ever nudging us to do just a little more.

His was a bright star, hidden modestly behind a large bushel, now fallen away.

And it is in this now revealed brilliant light, that we can track his own many and diverse efforts, made on all of our behalves, asking himself always to do just that little more, and succeeding, it is clear- so magnificently.

The forge of those London years, grown dusty with disregard, seems important now, possibly key in granting wide range and nuance to his monumental vision.

Gerald's determined labours did and will tug the vast ship of our nation's destiny ever towards more tender and inclusive shores, and for this we, and those who come behind us, will always thank him.

David Bellamy (War Resister)
November 1st, 2014
This is what Peter said to Gerald, family + friends at the funeral service:

Dear friends, dear Krakies, dear Gerald,

There are few things more beautiful than returning to South Africa for the umptieth time, and walk under the blossoming Jacaranda trees to your flat. Through you, Jos and I learned to love this country.

Let me share with you, how we first realised how much you yourself loved this country, which you also hated so much for so many good reasons at the time: the good-old early 1980s when it was so clear who and what was right and wrong . You had finally sorted out your Dutch passport and we co-travelled by car to Portugal. Driving through the plains in Northern Spanish we suddenly heard funny noises from the back of the car, you were sniffing and sobbing ‘This is just like the Karoo’. Which it was, though less beautiful than the Karoo.

Today I gave one of our last holiday pictures with you to Mercia, a portrait of you against sunset over the Orange river in Upington, normally a city to avoid at all costs (you used far more rude language ….). But on Zakkie’s arkie, on our way to the Kalahari in what we did not know would be our last shared holiday, everything was beautiful and the cold white wine did help.
We framed the picture in a simple and wise poem by Jules Deelder, I will read it in Dutch which you still understood much better than you wished to admit:
‘Alles blijft
Alles gaat voorbij
Alles blijft voorbijgaan’
(though hard to keep the tone and double meaning of the original: everything remains, everything passes by, everything keeps passing by)

As always, we brought you some goodies from the Netherlands, another county that you loved and hated, also for good though less dramatic reasons. We will share the stroopwafel (a sophisticated Dutch version of koeksisters) pepernoten (untranslatable) and Old Amsterdam Cheese at lunch, an uneatable flower bulbs for Mercia. But I will leave one bulb here for you, a tulip named ‘’Victor Mundi – conqueror of the world’’. You did not succeed in becoming that, but you made a better effort than many of us. And of course the tulip is red, dark red!

Then let me assure you that many things gaan voorbij, but our love will never nooit voorbij gaan. We will come back, Jos and I, and we will walk under the blossoming jacaranda trees and – godverdomme, another Dutch word that you still knew – you, our best friend in South Africa, will walk with us.

Amandla !

Peter Sluiter and Jos Leenhouts (Dutch colleague / friends)
October 31st, 2014
A tribute to Gerald Kraak, visionary and founder of the Other Foundation

Gerald first talked about establishing a community foundation to ensure the sustainability of the LGBTI work in South Africa more than ten years ago. We’ve got to think ahead, he used to urge. What’s going to happen when Atlantic and other international donors leave? It was hard to get activists to focus on an imagined crisis a decade away when they already had their heads fully engaged in contemporary ones. But Gerald doggedly pursued it, with increasing urgency as he led the process of Atlantic’s spend down and exit in South Africa. He hired great consultants and strategists, who criss crossed the country and the globe to transform his vision into a pragmatic project. He carefully managed the complicated politics of a small sector with too few resources to get people behind a unified idea. He used all his years of experience as a grant maker to mould a proposal that matched a distant Board’s legitimate concerns about fiscal responsibility with the demands of a principled political movement. And he also fiercely rose to the challenge to demonstrate that the proposed foundation could demonstrate a capacity to raise funds beyond international institutional donors.

We were friends first, but also colleagues on the Global Philanthropy Project (GPP) which brought together institutional donors who were funding LGBTI human rights work in the global South. In partnership with GPP, Gerald pressed ahead with an ambitious agenda to bring a range of high net-worth individuals to South Africa to experience for themselves the creativity, energy and commitment of activists in the Southern African region who were working to advance the rights and well-being of LGBTI people, in the most hostile of contexts. I don’t think any of us truly understood the amount of work that Gerald, supported by his dedicated and wonderful colleague Jann Otto in South Africa and Katherine Pease in the United States, did to pull off the tour. The 17 participants from the US and Europe were able to meet with more than 70 activists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia. They met with refugee organizations in the informal settlements of Cape Town; heard about the wider challenges of gender based violence and how it linked to LGBTI rights; saw the range of cultural work and religious outreach that was happening in even the most remote of rural areas; learnt about the impact of strategic litigation and the challenges of advocacy and educational outreach; and spoke intimately with South African icons like Edwin Cameron and Cheryl Carolus. And at the end of the tour, we had pledges of more than 3 million rands that provided the necessary demonstration for the vision of the foundation to move forward.

But the demands of the tour, that Gerald so wanted to be the success that it was, took a huge toll on him. In retrospect, it’s clear that he was already very ill by that stage. One of the final grants that he presented to the Board of Atlantic Philanthropies was for $5 million for the establishment and start up of the Other Foundation. It was grant that he took enormous pleasure and quiet pride in. Not for himself - but for the recognition of the importance of the work of the sector. He sometimes worried that people would think that his dedication came from the fact that he was gay. I would have done this even if I had been straight, he would lament. When Atlantic was setting up, he said, our brief was to find the most pressing human rights issues in the country that were being overlooked. It was clear from all the consultations and research that we did that LGBTI people were amongst the most marginalized and stigmatized. I believe him. He paid easily as much attention to his other priority areas - particularly refugees and migrants. And even in those areas he worked beyond purely professional boundaries, as shown by his collection of Zimbabwean art works, that he purchased primarily to support individual refugees struggling to survive in South Africa.
Darlings! We did it! He announced to Phumi Mtetwa and I, after the founding Board of the Other Foundation had constituted itself, close to ten years after he had first conceived of the idea. Bloody nearly killed us - but we did it, he said as we sat in his flat in Killarney over a celebratory glass (or three) of whiskey. His ‘we’ was generous. I can’t speak for Phumi, but I know I would never have had the tenacity to see it through all the hurdles he encountered, or the self-conviction to push through the criticisms. Every set back was met with a commitment to find a creative way around it; every barb with a gentle shrug of the shoulders and an empathy about where it might have came from. His greatest delight, however, was reserved for our first round of grant-making. He loved the range of proposals that came in; he was so excited about the possibilities of new work and approaches; he was energized particularly by the cultural and research work proposed. Of course, he wanted to fund them all.

It seems so incredibly unfair that he won’t be here to see his vision flower into all that it will be. It will be different from what he imagined: but he knew that and celebrated it, as he believed that all the best projects flourish when they are supported by grant makers who can risk managing with a very light touch.

He had so many plans that he was looking forward to post Atlantic: finishing his second novel; writing up a history of the LGBTI movement in South Africa; looking at how social movements are developing amongst young people in the Western Cape; becoming an expert bird watcher; finding the love of his life to grow old with. Sweetie, he would say, if you were a gay man I would marry you! Nonsense, I would snort. If I were a gay man you would want me to look like an olympic swimmer, speak five languages, understand Mahler while knowing all the words of every Abba hit; be willing to dance with you to ‘it’s Raining Men’; and be able to be as comfortable in a refugee camp as in a 3 star Michelin restaurant in Provence. He’s out there, I would say. But he’s not going to appear until you’re willing to make time to let him in.

In the end, Gerald made a different set of choices. He dedicated himself to making his South Africa a better place for all of us. He did it with all the love and passion and commitment that he might have given to a lover and a partner. I’m saddened by that personal cost, but know that he led the life that he wanted, had enormous pleasure in doing it, and I’m proud of the legacy he’s left. I feel privileged to have worked with him and contributed to some of the projects he cared deeply about. I loved him dearly. And I will miss him always.
Carla Sutherland (on founding board with Ge)
October 31st, 2014
Gerald so many memories, Visiting him in Holland shortly after he left south Africa. His committment to justice and above all his gentleness, always the person who rescued abandoned kittens and baby birds that had fallen from their nest. so glad that i saw him at a book launch at wits at end of May. So sorry did not get to meet up again. a good person and I was lucky to have shared some time in the 70s when many of us lived in Harfield village
shirley miller (friend)
October 31st, 2014
Human Rights Watch mourns the passing of Gerald Kraak, who was passionately committed to human rights and touched so many lives with his warmth, humor and incisive intellect. Gerald played an important role in supporting the establishment of Human Rights Watch’s office in South Africa. He will be deeply missed by those who knew him and had the privilege of working with him.
Human Rights Watch
October 30th, 2014
Go well, my dear friend. I will always hold you in my heart.
Susie Giffard (Friend)
October 30th, 2014
Gerald, I am going to a wake on Friday night to celebrate you in a manner that I think you would find very fitting. On Saturday I join with others to say goodbye. But to say that you will be missed understates what I am able to more adequately express. You still had so much to do – books to write, places to visit and people to see. Every time I see somebody at the side of the road carrying a placard asking for money – often in the name of saving an imagined cat or some other such humorous fabrication, I think of you: of the way in which you combined the writers detachment with the passion of the interested citizen who, when seeing such a placard-bearer, you engaged with the person wanting to catch fragments of their stories.
There are a number of people who spend their time giving away money that was accumulated through the efforts of others and who forget who they are in the process. Gerald worked in this world of philanthropy from 1993 until the time of his death. And in over 20 years, Gerald never forgot who he was.
Many organisations and individuals who worked with Gerald over this time have correctly emphasised his huge contributions to democracy and to the funding landscape itself that emerged through his determined, visionary engagement at Interfund and The Atlantic Philanthropies (TAP). There is always room for more to be said. Whether it was in relation to Truth and Reconcilliation; to health and the HIV pandemic; to LGBTI movment; the scourge of xenophobia and the rights of refugees; rural communities and civil society; constitutionalism and impact litigation: Gerald’s hand will be felt for years to come.
Born in 1956 and a student at UCT majoring in English and history, his research exposed him to the realities of the forced removals; and his engagement in the ‘white left’ and as the National Media officer of NUSAS also developed his understanding of trade union organisation and saw him voicing his admiration for the feminist militancy of the 1970s whenever he got the chance. Opposed to conscription and having some idea of the violence that the apartheid army wrought on any man who failed to assert a macho persona, he left the country in 1979 and spent some years in Amsterdam.
Gerald grew up at a time where he experienced exclusion and the dehumanisation that is the result of denying the right of every person to exist freely and equally: Gerald felt this not only as a white man with a social conscience but as a gay person who lived as a closeted political activist engaged in anti-apartheid struggle inside South Africa and then later in exile. Gerald was a very private person and shared with so many activists a desire to hold onto the space of private time and friendship.
Yet, his novel, Ice in the Lungs, which was the joint winner of the 2005 EU Literary Award, and the documentary, Property of the State: Gay Men in the Apartheid Military, which was released in 2003, were part of his quest to ensure that our history with regard to gender identity rights is not misappropriated. The fact that these rights are enshrined in our constitution is not the product of a simple, unambiguous path of principle. Any honest retelling and reflection will make it clear that the path has been difficult and that progress remains vulnerable. Gender, and particularly sexuality, is an issue that continues to be seen as ‘secondary’ and fails to see consistent engagement.
That violence against LGBTI individuals should be grappled with as an aspect of all social violence; that it is a reflection of how far society has to go in order to embrace the diversity of identities; and that it is this violence that is used as a vehicle to assert authority, undermine individual identity and agency: these are realities that Gerald was intensely aware of.
Knowing from his own holding back – his late coming out and the lifelong consequences this had; knowing and experiences the reasons for this, Gerald remained concerned that LGBTI youth of today to a large extent contend with the same exclusion, vulnerability and fears that lead to half-living. He knew that there are thousands of young people who today, in South Africa, continue to experience hostility and the hazards of coming out on a daily basis. Similar to the time of our youth, homophobia remains sublimated on the basis of so many ‘other more important imperatives’. Our denial of any problem will continue to imply the persistence of such sublimation.
Gerald saw this in exile. Not only in the ANC but also in the Anti-Apartheid Movement of 1980s, where he saw what he described as “a curious silence” about homosexuality, lesbianism and other gender identities which was more noticeable because in Britain society there had been an upsurge in progressive mobilisation against the policies of Margaret Thatcher and these policies included further restrictions on gay men and lesbians.
While in Amsterdam, Gerald gravitated to others who had left South Africa for similar reasons and, in addition to working for an anti-apartheid organisation and, as part of the ANC, he assisted with the establishment of the Committee on South African War Resistance (COSAWR). Yet it was a time of trauma and alienation that characterised the experiences many living in exile. Notwithstanding this, his memories of this time and of Holland were punctuated with startlingly succinct and accurate observations - often humorous - about his surroundings. It also left a book unfinished.
COSAWR presented evidence to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and this led to the production of the book “War in Resistance”. While the process of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa has been conflated in the minds of many as being solely connected with the TRC, Gerald understood that it continues to have many dimensions - including reclaiming the past of gay activists in struggle. Gerald encouraged work.
Understanding the importance of active support and engagement with gender rights by all who hold human rights and our Constitution dear, Gerald knew that there was - and still is - work to be done. Gerald knew this long before it became fashionable and at no time did he parade his foresight. He led with real determination and humility in a manner that enabled the leadership of others and that encouraged alliances and connectedness between different aspects of struggle.
Fiercely committed to the realisation of human rights and the struggle for social justice in South Africa; working to embrace diversity, strengthen local community and support the agency of every person, when TAP indicated its plan for a phased withdrawal from South Africa, Gerald attempted to put in place an important, innovative programme to enable the sustainability of organisations that had developed through its support. Here too he was ahead in his thinking.
Gerald was diagnosed with cancer in May 2014. By then it had already spread. He was just amazing in the manner in which he approached the future – determined to fight the disease ever optimistic until the last day that he would be back in his flat with his cats. He underwent five sessions of chemotherapy and responded positively but he hit a snag as his blood started to clot. While he was trying to sort out the blood, things went downhill rapidly. He was in pain and uncomfortable and it went so horribly fast.

He was an exceptional friend, comrade and colleague. His death is particularly difficult to think about especially when considering what a good human being he was, how much he still wanted and deserved to be able to do and what he had already given of himself to benefit others.
Janet Love (Friend)
October 29th, 2014
Gerald died as I was staying at Heron's Haven, the warm, spirited home he co-owned in Wakkerstroom.

I'd seen him days before in Johannesburg. Our conversation was not about illness or death. It was about life. There was no more vital human being I could have been with.

He questioned me in detail about why I'd changed my name from "Nigel" to "Stephen", and about one or two colourful passages of my recent years.

A dying man? Perhaps. A mind bursting with life? Oh yes.

One night in Wakkerstroom, after I'd learned of his death, I awoke to an owl hooting, I stood at the window and felt a presence behind me.

Peace descended, as it always did when Gerald was near.
Stephen Wrench (Friend)
October 29th, 2014
I first met Gerald long ago when we were students and for a short time, I shared a flat with him. I also went to visit him in Holland soon after he had arrived there in 1980. He was always different. Never afraid to speak his mind, to be critical, even at the risk of being unpopular. Always just, in the big things as in his opposition to apartheid, and in little things such as how he treated everyone, whether they were his friends or not. Always funny; a mimic, a comic, a slayer of holy cows. Always serious, too, about what he believed in and who he was. And talented, as a student, an organiser, a writer, a thinker. I had only seen him a few times in the past ten years. But I will remember him always. Dear soul, may he rest in peace. Sympathies, strength and love to his family.
Pippa Green (Friend)
October 29th, 2014
Glimpses of Gerald Kraak (died Sunday 19 October)

Year: 1977
Unlike Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town in the 1970s had a “wages commission”. Students were working with real workers. Producing and selling a workers’ newspaper. Gerald spoke about the project at a Nusas conference in Durban. Back in Grahamstown, the idea of a newspaper for the community had been hatched by Gideon Cohen, but then he was banned. The idea survived, under the name of “Grahamstown Voice / Ilizwe lase Rhini”. And so the first edition was assembled, its contents a mix of English and isiXhosa, and of church news and political pieces. So, where to print it, and with what funds? The answer: Gerald Kraak. And so, I drove with Jeanne Chunnett down to Cape Town. We found our man. He was a bit surprised. But he readily printed the paper on the UCT press. We took it back to Grahamstown, piled high on the back seat. Soon, that will be 40 years ago. Gerald’s solidarity was absolutely automatic. It was repeated many times in later years.

Year 1985
After nerve-wracking (and -wrecking) hiding out from security police over three months, I left for London. Took a chance and went on my passport through the then Jan Smuts. Tense as hell, and tearful. The flight headed for an unfamiliar destination, keeping with it the ache of uncertainty and hundreds of comrades in detention. On my arrival at Heathrow, the phone book supplied a number for Gerald’s workplace. He was employed at the International Defence and Aid Fund. The line was out of order, but at least there was an address – Hyde Park. Found my way there… only to find that IDAF had moved. Fortunately, the new occupants were able direct me to the new address. A coat forgotten on the Tube, a 100 or so stairs climbed at Angel station, and a backpack weighed down by stress, the new refugee arrived at the IDAF offices. Gerald was a bit surprised. Then he showed his solidarity. Soon I was part of a network which provided the support and accommodation that is so important for political exiles.
[Recent tributes have mentioned Gerald’s more recent novel and movie. From this period, let us also remember that he was a key writer in “Resister”, the journal of the Congress of South African War Resisters; and at IDAF he produced “Breaking the Chains: Labour in South Africa in the '70s and '80s”]

Year: 2002
Atlantic Philanthropies, where Gerald worked, was looking for worthy projects with universities they could support. The experience of the alternative press seemed to show that education in media management was needed to help the sustainability of the sector. Gerald received a proposal from me that he fund a form of business development. He was a bit surprised. Yet he did the usual, and the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership was born. Two years later, he was again surprised, and again he repeated his trust in my project ideas. On that occasion, he agreed to fund Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies to buy its own newspaper. That grant kept Grocott’s Mail as an independently owned paper, and ever since the publication has been a practical teaching lab for future journalists.

Year 2014:
In the unpredictable nature of memories, the following images surfaced today. Keeping Gerald waiting in London – for more than an hour on one occasion. And yet he waited. Another time, arriving so late at his flat, I had to leave immediately after making my excuses, else I would miss a plane.

Most other people would have written off a person who did that kind of thing. Gerald didn’t.

Looking back, who, now, is left with a feeling of surprise?
Guy Berger (Friend)
October 28th, 2014
Gerald, it has been a pleasure working with you and learning from you in establishing The Other Foundation. Your tenacious commitment and vision, your ability to always find a way, has left LGBTI people in Southern Africa with a very precious gift, our own foundation, to support our struggles long into the future. Thank you.
Laurie Adams (Friend and Colleague)
October 28th, 2014
When you came to Holland in 1979, you told me about the novel of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and how much you loved that philosophic story. From the few moment that we have met each other during the years, this is one of my strongest memories.
There is a lot of similarity between your identity, your commitment to the Human Rights, your aim to inspire other people with your idealism and the livestory of the seagull in this book.
I hope that you have found the peace and freedom just as Jonathan Livingstone Seagull did.
With love, your cousin Truus v.d.Kolk-Kraak
October 28th, 2014
Truus v.d.Kolk-Kraak (cousin)
October 28th, 2014
I write this with great sadness over the friend to cancer.
Gerald you are a brave and strong defender in life and in death. You took each day in stride, never really complaining, always there to support and give the much needed advice. Working with you in South Africa and Kenya was amazing. I last saw you in Nairobi in 2010, you were full of life and even as I heard of the sad news that you were unwell, I had this feeling that you would be the defender and sail through. Rest in peace in your transition. Your legacy lives on
Monica Mbaru (friend)
October 27th, 2014
Tribute to Gerald, from his brother Andre, read at the Family Service

I have six things I would like to say about my life with Gerald.
Firstly, his role as older brother and his huge influence on the direction of my life. During childhood I was always much closer to my younger brother Richard than to Gerald, because he was so bookish and studious, always reading up about birds and devouring Gerald Durrell books, adopting abandoned animals, whilst Richard and I played with our go-carts in the streets.
It got a bit worse when we both went to Westerford, where I was a bit of a ‘doos’, not really fitting into what was and is a bit of a pretentious school. I was put in the ‘D’ class whilst Gerald was always in the ‘A’ class. I viewed these clever kids with much suspicion and distrust. I partook in no extra-mural activities, whereas Gerald was in the school debating and drama societies – and he co-directed the Crucible in 1973 in his Grade 11 year. Socially, he mixed with all the clever and creative kids, and they were all nurtured by a brilliant history teacher, Glynn Hewson (who has also passed on in recent times). Through these friendships, a small group of them became radicalised against the horrors of SA life. In the December holiday of 1973, they were on their way to Hermanus for a holiday when they saw a white man place a black man in the boot of his car. They reported this to the police and Cape Times, some still in school uniforms, and it created quite a stink in the local news for ages. The regime at Westerford were not impressed that these kids had got involved in the school’s name.
By the time Gerald got to University, he was ready to be a progressive, with a strong sympathy and solidarity with the working class. He joined wages commission, a branch of Nusas, with friends like Didi Moyle, Hilary Joffe and Diane Cooper. Within months he moved out of our Pinelands family home into the Observatory digs of a banned man, Alan Aderem, and his partner, Di Cooper – both union organisers. I was extremely intimidated visiting these ‘heavies’.
But it was my turn to go to university in 1976, a tumultuous year that changed our lives forever. I discovered then the most important element in my relationship with Gerald. This was the fact that I had huge admiration for him and his stance at university and wanted to follow in his footsteps all the way. Which I did. I entered Nusas and Students for Social Democracy (SSD) in 1976, and in August, when the unrest spread to Cape Town, we all marched behind the leadership of Graeme Bloch and Fink Haysom, to some unknown destination (we were stopped by the police in Modderfontein Road in Athlone – Graeme, where the hell were we going?). and our overnight arrest built many long-standing friendships: Graeme, Nicki Rosseau, Stephen Bowey, Justine Quince … For me, I was getting involved in the struggle because of Gerald’s massive influence in my life. Initially I was going to become an engineer. But the influence of Gerald, of Glynn Hewson’s Westerford, and our joint UCT under-graduate career led me on a very different course.
The nice thing about university is that it is a great ‘leveler’ – I was now not the sometimes irritating younger brother, but an equal in the house of knowledge! He didn’t like it entirely. I beat him in a course entitled ‘SA economic history’, and for the first-time in my life, I realised I had an aptitude for knowledge and learning. I went on to get my Bachelor’s, a Masters and then a PhD. I was now no longer the family ‘doos’
But Gerald was always the family intellectual, not me. I have always thought of him as so clever, so eloquent, so articulate, sauve and well-read. I could never describe myself as such. Yet I was the one who went into academia and research, and him into social justice work. However, in that work, in his social interaction with people, even when he was pissed with a few too many whiskies, he was such a consummate story teller, such a strong debater, such a clever cynic, such rich satire – he was always the clever man.
But he was no angel, which leads me to my third point: the ‘onbeskofte’ Gerald. Gerald could floek like no-one else. We had excellent training because my father swore rather obscenely in four languages and I think Gerald eventually could do it in three. He was very discrete, he never did it publicly to shock anyone in his own circle. But with old friends and family he could be quite mischievous. It came out best when he was mocking political regimes, the old and the new. It came out alongside the most wonderful and naughty sense of humour. I remember once when we were kids. Gerald was about 14. My dad’s dutch sister had come to visit. She kept calling for our Siamese cats to come into the house in the most obscene manner, at least for a person living in the Western Cape. And soon after she left, Gerald would mimic her loudly out the upstairs balconylate at night and loud enough so our neighbours could here: “poes”, “poes”, come binne, “poes”, “poes”! Today, I love the fact that in some strange way, my oldest son Shaun has genetically acquired some of Gerald’s skills at mimicry. Shaunie had Gerald in stiches in Dec 2007 when Shaun had just seen the stage plays Green Mamba and Black Mamba, and the outrageous British Comedian Barak had also hit the scene. The biggest joke of the moment was our health minister, Mantu Shabalala Msimang – and both Gerald and Shaun had the most outrageous take on her misfortunes with alcohol, her liver, hospital theft, politics and garlic. I had to intervene to stop it because Gerald did not want to stop laughing and go home and Shaun did not want to stop entertaining. Unfortunately, Shaun has grown up in more serious mode now, another young intellectual, and he doesn’t do much comedy anymore.
My fourth point: Reconciliation: One of the greatest moments in my life has been reconciling with Gerald in June 2013 after a longish estrangement. Our differences were truly resolved or had fallen away before we knew he was sick. We spent at least three or fourth whisky-drenched sessions between Jan and April this year re-evaluating our lives and our relationships, our hurts and vulnerabilities, and the strain we lived under over the past few years – which in my case made me behave very badly for a number of years. I have had such pleasure spending time with him now in Johannesburg, over the past 10 months.
On loneliness. Our family’s main take on Gerald’s sexuality was never about him being gay, but rather, a huge sadness that he never had a long-term and wonderful romance and relationship with some other man, who would become his trusting and reliable partner. Gerald lived a life full of wonderful friends and professional accomplishments, but he was also a lonely man. And what is the most awful part of this is that if he did have a lover and partner, we would not be gathered here today. Such a loving partner would have immediately dragged him off (protesting probably) to an oncologist for a colonoscopy check-up long ago. He was always this polite English gentleman who would never talk about his bowel movements in front of any of us. And so we found out too late.
To my final point: Gerald did receive immense love of another sort: from his ‘collective’ partner comprising so many dedicated and loving people. We in the family are in awe of the huge number of people globally who not only knew him, but who truly loved him. To all of you I say thank you.
With all this said and done I want to tell you, Gerald, I truly love you, forever broer. May you rest in peace.
Your loving brother Andre.
Andre Kraak (Brother)
October 27th, 2014
Oh, the allegories it spawned! How can we sleep when our beds are burning? As a writer you knew these things. You weren't there that night so I never held it against you that the damn fire came right thru' your floor and my ceiling, and torched my bed. The firemen's efforts ruined my stereo, and laid waste to my vinyl collection. Somehow, music was never the same...CD's never cut it for me. And the pasty-faced landlady said the insurance only covered her property, not her tenants' possessions. Ja ne, things we lost in the fire.
You'll be missed here, Gerald. Altho' you were a Kraak, not a Kray, you was a legend. Till the fire next time, keep fanning the flames.

Fondly, always,

Marcus Toerien (neighbour in another life)
October 27th, 2014
Gerald was quite simply the one person we all wanted to stay with, and when he visited nobody ever wanted him to leave. He was an incurable host with a knack for turning utter chaos into a haven for friends, family and allies - wherever he happened to be living.
Geralds famous dinner parties began in the flatlet of his parents home in Alice's Ride, when we were still at school. Mercia Kraak would send up dishes of the most delicious lasagna, salad and pudding - and leave a crowd of us to it. We were in awe of his Mom who pretended not to notice the smell of cigarettes.
Gerald also had a knack for buying perfect presents - like the bon voyage one he gave me when we were both about 19 - with strict instructions that it could only be opened once I had boarded my (first ever) flight to Jhb. It contained reading material which had quite clearly bypassed the publications control board - and a chocolate. He was in hysterics about that one for weeks.
It was Gerald who organised my first digs with Lisa Thorn, across the road from the cottage he shared with Nicky Rousseau and Graham Bloch in Harfield.
And it was Gerald who arrived at the Prinzengracht Ziekenhuis with a kilo of the finest nectarines - and hung around for a few rounds of contractions before Nick was born.
A few years ago I received a text message from him - from a train which was passing through Amersfoort. He was taking his Mom to visit her sister in-law in Winchoten. That was Gerald: regardless of where his heart, his head or life took him, it dovetailed with his love for his family. I shared some profoundly life changing experiences with Gerald and learnt so much from him. It was an honor to be his friend.
Jacqui Sinclair (friend)
October 26th, 2014
It was Gerald who gave me the idea. I had just travelled to a number of countries in Southern Africa to collect material for a book about gay life in the region. It was a year after the Gay Games in Amsterdam where the book, ‘Moffies’, was launched.

In Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, it was activism all over the place. Sometimes not more than a handful of people meeting in small gatherings. But clearly the South African road to equality had encouraged many to rise and organise in neighbouring countries and elsewhere.

I felt that some interaction was needed. People should go their own way but should not invent the wheel twice. It could be helpfukl to listen to each other’s stories, sharing experiences, identify.

What about a newsletter, some notes we put on paper and send around regularly, I asked Gerald?

‘You know there is this new thing. Internet. I’ve just build a website for Interfund and it’s pretty easy’.

The rest is history. Some seed money was made available. No strings attached, no long meetings, no endless pages of reporting just an expression of trust that this thing could come right. And it did. One year later Behind the Mask was launched. When every African lgbt activist had his or her own social media page and every organisation its website ‘BTM’ had probably outlived his usefulness. And so it closed down in an atmosphere of crisis and drama. It felt a bit like letting Gerald down.
Farewell, dear Gerald.

Bart Luirink (friend)
October 26th, 2014
Gerald, your life touched those you didn't even know. Thank you and thank the gods for people like you. RIP. You more than deserve it.
Kerry Harris (friend of friend)
October 26th, 2014
Gerald was a friend and a support for us in ILRIG in the 1980s and early 90s. Hamba Kahle comrade.
Linda Cooper (friend)
October 25th, 2014
I was shattered this week to hear that my old friend and comrade, Gerald Kraak, has passed away. I first met Gerald in 1989 when he still in exile in the UK and he came to work with me in the London office of INTERFUND, a significant channel of funding to anti-apartheid civil society organizations in South Africa and Namibia (founded by Danish, Norwegian and Canadian NGOs with support from their governments and solidarity movements). Gerald was an indispensable partner in the development of INTERFUND and its support to a wide range of progressive work in education, community health, land rights, media, arts and culture, and human rights. As a grantmaker with INTERFUND and then the Atlantic Philanthropies, he made a huge difference to many lives and organizations struggling for dignity, equality and democracy in Southern Africa. He became a stalwart of LGBTI activism and funding in the region. He was an accomplished researcher, pioneer editor of Development Update, and an award-winning novelist. But more than that he had a special talent for friendship, a fervour for justice and a great appetite for life. His death leaves us all diminished.

Gerald was very proud of INTERFUND's work for transformational change in South and Southern Africa, and he played a big role in the good that came of it. INTERFUND is gone, and now Gerald is too. But, along with me, INTERFUND friends, colleagues and partners from South Africa, Namibia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands and elsewhere will always remember him with love and admiration.

'Who flies afar from the sphere of our sorrow is here today and here tomorrow.' - James Thurber, 'The Moth and the Star'
Barry Smith (Friend and colleague)
October 25th, 2014
I first got to know Gerald as a Nusas "heavy" when I became politically involved at UCT. He was one of the elders we learnt from, aspired to emulate and no doubt disappointed as we misbehaved.

We became friends when a damaged knee had me seeking refuge in his Haarlem flat whilst backpacking Europe in 1980 (without health insurance, of course). He made me feel so welcome. Craig Williamson was revealed as a spy while I recuperated, as was Gerald's previously well-camouflaged hedonistic side.

Gerald, Bill Gardiner, Bruce Irvine and I met regularly for dinner in London, as the "Boys Club", after I moved there in 1986. We would debate the issues of the day over cheap pasta and wine with almost as much passion as in the student struggle days. Gerald also hosted big Christmas parties at his flat near the old Arsenal ground - a truly family affair for the exiles and expats. His return to SA, as apartheid crumbled, tinged the triumph with slight personal sadness for those of us who stayed on.

Gerald combined intellectual rigour with a wonderful sense of dry wit and irony, and a fierce independence. A true original, he will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
David Hill (Friend)
October 25th, 2014
Before I had even met Gerald, I took over the task of sending 2 copies of all pamphlets produced by student organisations and other groups, to "Andre's brother in Amsterdam".I was part of the next generation of Nusas students-and he was a "significant person" and friends of my political mentors.I met him in 1983, visiting him in Holland for a few days.In 1985, over the course of that year,I stayed in his flat in Tufnell Park for 3 months on and off.He ate the same meal every night-pasta and mince.His black coat a permanet feature.And with Bridgit McKay, we spent the summer in Greece.Trundling around the remotest islands we could find.Such warmth, generosity,unquestionable
hospitality for those of us on the left who turned up while he was in exile.I knew him in his younger years.Coming back home we had a few drinks in CT,but JHB was his home.The thing about connections with people like Gerald, a erudite, gentle, most decent of men- from, "The Times" back then, is that they remain with us.Wishing the family "Long life"
Diane Sandler (friend)
October 25th, 2014
Gerald, I first met you a few months after I moved to South Africa in 1996, and from then on we never really looked back. We have worked together on countless projects, events and publications, and although perhaps an unlikely one, given our very different backgrounds, we struck up a friendship nevertheless. I know you would have laughed it off in your usual modest way if I had told you, but you became a role model to me. I wasn’t sure if I had it in me, coming from the very privileged background that I did, never really having had to ‘test’ it, but I think what brought and played an important part in keeping us together was a deep, principled commitment to human rights. You brought that out in me and nurtured it – never with big words, or through long-winded philosophical discussions, but through your sheer courage, determination, everyday actions and attitude to people and things. You led by example. Sure, we moaned, groaned, cursed and cracked endless cynical jokes as we went along – but you never lost faith or strayed from the path. And there were times of personal crisis on my part, where you could so easily have taken sides. But you didn’t. Ever caring and supportive, you were there, remained there.

Gerald, I need to tell you that we have finished the book. I know that you knew that we would, although I, in true style, sometimes had my doubts!

I miss you terribly – you meant the world to me and my little family, and our thoughts are with yours.

Love from Maja, Oscar and Helle
Helle Christiansen (Friend and colleague)
October 25th, 2014
How is it possible that such an extraordinary person should die so young? When I look through the photographs of Gerald I see a man who was loved, a brave beautiful man, a funny, irreverent and caring man and a man whose kindness and humanity has changed the lives of so many people. I am one of them. I wish I had got to know you better Gerald but of a giggle over a glass of wine, powdering your nose for the camera, hanging out with your cats, cold eggs in grahamstown, experiencing Exhibition B together and having you with us at the opening night of "Rewind" - which you made happen - are memories I shall always cherish. Goodbye Gerald.
Liza Key
October 25th, 2014
Where do I start? Some of this is hazy, but everything, somehow, is significant.

I think this starts in 1973, when the Kraaks arrived in Cape Town, and Gerald and Andre came to Westerford High School. We weren't too close in those days: Gerald was soon one of the intellectuals, the tres cool anti-establishment, anti-sport, poetic, beautiful people. In a good way, you understand. Gerald had a way with words, which compensated for his absolute inability to catch a ball. In 1974, when we did a production of The Crucible, Gerald was not on stage (this made him uncomfortable), but behind the scenes, helping with the production, and - inevitably somehow - acting as prompt. This was an emotional play, and there came the day when it all became too much for him, and there he was, weeping in the wings.

There was Alex Boraine's election in Pinelands - which might have been the first time I really Had A Drink - in Gerald and Andre's house in Pinelands.

And on to UCT, where we became good friends - again, he was thinking ahead of us, involved in Wages Comm and SSD, and taking me to Crossroads. And in 1976, which was the turning point for so many, we were together on that strange, inevitable, tumultuous, march down Lansdowne Road... Gerald always seemed one step ahead in his thinking, but never keen to take centre stage. He influenced, but never postured. He prompted, but never took centre stage.

And I became firm friends with Andre, and got to know the strong, unflappable and wonderful Mercia. The Kraaks, well, they were a key part of my life.

So when Gerald took the step into exile - and decided on the Netherlands, it somehow seemed inevitable that I would go there too. So it was, six months later, that there was Gerald, striding into Amsterdam station (with Viv Walt in tow), greeting an exhausted and bedraggled Stephen and Jacqui, and insisting that we immediately taste some Dutch pilsener.

There followed three very challenging months living in Haarlem, where we did more drinking. Every night, hard and late, while the European winter bit hard. And we had visitors, many visitors, mainly from the student left. Inevitably, Gerald engineered my first job, as an apprentice for the printer who printed for Komitee Zuidelijk Afrika - where Gerald was already making his mark. And we ended up in the same brand-new block of flats, in the most suburban suburb, of Holland's most suburban town - Amersfoort. This, thanks to a housing allocation for refugees.

And COSAWR-NL ...this is a chapter all of its own. Exile politics were not easy, and they were very, er, political. But we stuck together, and, I think, did some good work from the little Netherlands chapter. Frankly, though, Gerald was the one who held it together intellectually.

Then he moved to London, and we saw less of him. I knew of his work, but we were on different paths.

Until the heady days of the 90s, and we were back in South Africa. He was in a wonderful Yeoville flat (was it Becker St?), a few blocks from Rockey Street, latterly with Patti Mac downstairs. I was working in Cape Town, and visiting JHB frequently... and would often stay with Gerald. We were, by now, in different worlds, but the friendship was just the same; he would always wolf through supper, seemingly without tasting the food, and regale me with his often scandalous views of the South African political scene. Then there were years we saw little of each other.

In 2007, when I left South Africa, for the second time, I visited him to say goodbye, in that beautiful, dark apartment/cat heaven. Where I drank far too much, too quickly, and we were plunged back into the old times, two 50-year-olds whose lives had collided at different times, in unexpected ways, but always with meaning, and fun, and angst.

Gerald, my friend, I shall not forget you.

To Mercia, Andre, Brenda, Shaun and Aden, Richard - love and strength to you all.
Stephen Bowey (Friend)
October 25th, 2014
Such a thing, to see the people in Gerald’s life from the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and now. I somehow wish he could have seen this all, and wonder why we don’t do it – or why we have to wait for people’s 70th or 80th or 90th birthdays to make meaning of a life well lived. I loved Gerald from the first time I met him in Amsterdam in 1984 on Jane Barrett’s direction to find him there. It was such a high yet painful and complicated time here and we spent hours talking about the white left and its internal messes, the movement in general, and then he sent me off to see Horst Kleinschmidt in London, who met me at Marx’s grave. It was clichéd even at the time and really fabulous! And then he was home; and then I also became a donor and he was the one person with whom I could really talk about the madness of the donor world…. And the comedy opera he promised me that he was working on with friends, about US Foundations, now won’t be written. He came to our place in New York – it may have been a pesach supper – and regaled us until we were all howling with laughter, with a story of a gorgeous guy he’d met a couple of nights before, and the delight of being recognised as equally gorgeous… only to realise, eventually that it was a pick-up…. all the while finishing off most of the bottle of whisky he’d brought along. That dreadful whisky. I loved his book but simply can’t believe that those of you in the western cape in the ‘70s were enjoying Glenfiddich ….somehow the present seemed to get caught in the past. And those painful conversations about the whisky… But what a wonder of a man that we could have those kinds of talks, and the ones about sexuality and class and making sense of being white and middle aged; the last couple of times I saw him he was promising to once again make the polenta pie he’d brought to our welcome home party – to get Jane and Steve and Willie and I to his place – “why don’t we ever get it together??” – and now there’s no more polenta pie and I am so grateful to Gerald for his friendship and my heart weeps for his family and those of his friends who made his days meaningful and took care of him as his time came to an end.
Barbara Klugman, Johannesburg.
Barbara Klugman (Friend)
October 24th, 2014
A message from Julia Angeli:

"I'll always be thankful for his support in Vietnam. Without him I might never have found Marie Stopes and my professional life working on family planning and sexual health might never have existed."
jan clements (friend)
October 24th, 2014
So sad to get the news this week of Gerald's death. Back in 1986 when I first met Gerald at a COSAWR gathering it was a little confusing because there were two Geralds. And then a few years later he convinced me to take up a permanent role as administrator of COSAWR. I remember dearly his sense of humour, humility and dedication to doing the right thing. Many nights of endless debate, editing and research. And those small steps counted. As Gavin has said "He also played an important if unacknowledged role in bringing the exiled ANC to understand the politics and dynamics of the internal resistance (especially the 'white left') and in loosening the grip of its often stifling Soviet-style political orthodoxy.." I'm lighting a candle for you. Lots of love
Matthew Temple (Friend)
October 24th, 2014
A life well-lived. We hope it gave back to him as much as he put into it. He gave us a platform to write many of the things we wanted to say. We will not forget him.
Marian and Janet Nell and Shapiro (Friends and colleagues)
October 24th, 2014
"To say struggle is to say sacrifice
And in struggle you expose your life. ..
When a companero falls,
And with his fall, a thousand fall lifeless,
It is necessary that what he did in life
is not lost with the loss of the companero.
The path to the future must be illuminated
As thousands of voices bid him farewell
And millions bid welcome
To the great example of his struggle and life".

Gerald, I know that many did not get what you were trying to achieve, but many also did, and still do. It is our duty that what you tried to accomplish in life lives on. We plan to keep the dream alive as long as we live. Thank you. Go well.
vanessa ludwig
October 23rd, 2014
We had such a lovely time with Gerald and Patti at Wakkerstroom. We will treasure fond memories of him, in both London and South Africa.

Here is a poem Dj wrote at the time:


Two white butterflies flirt and flutter by,
The distant clouds mere candyfloss of the sky.
As the heat waves rise from the ground
Paradise birds make the only sounds.

The ominous trees look from yonder.
One can admire their imperial stature.
The hills keep a friendly watchful eye,
on everything of the earth and sky.

The shadows drag themselves to the east,
wondering when they"ll get some relief.
The sun doesn't soften, only goes away,
and that is only at the end of the day.
From - Jan Clements, Charlotte and Dj (Daniel) Johannes. Love and sympathy to Gerald's family and friends.
jan clements (friend)
October 23rd, 2014
Gerald is one of those people that I wish I had given more time to knowing. My first 'contact' with him was when I stayed in his Amsterdam flat in 1984. Gerald wasn't around, but my old friend Jon Campbell had organised for me to stay there when I went over on a fund-raising trip. When I first actually met Gerald, which was on his return to South Africa, the first thing I had to do was apologise to him - because while staying at his place in Amsterdam, I allowed the sink to overflow while I was on the phone, thereby causing a flood and sending water into the flat below. He, of course, generously forgave me. Since then, I have known him professionally (he arranged some financial support for my work in Yeoville Bellevue, his old stomping ground) and through wonderful evenings at the home of Patti MacDonald. I shall miss the lost opportunity of getting to know him better.
Maurice Smithers (Wannabe friend)
October 23rd, 2014
Seems like I've known Gerald forever, from IDAF/Resist through Interfund to Atlantic right up to the Pinchas Zuckerman concert in Jo'burg a few weeks ago. He was progressive, challenging, a gifted bitchy gossip partner, man of all talents, by some margin the most progressive donor in the country, and we still have half a bottle of J&B bought for Gerald but unfinished, destined now probably not ever to be done. Hamba kahle old friend.
david everatt (Friend, colleague)
October 23rd, 2014
My thoughts are with Mercia, Richard, Andre, Brenda, Shaun and Aden. Sending you all so much love - Jacqui
Jacqui Sinclair (friend)
October 23rd, 2014
I knew Gerald through COSAWR in the UK in 80s and early 90s, and last saw him when I stayed with him in Yeoville in 1995. Much water under the bridge since then, but would like to add my words of tribute (and condolences to all those left bereft). I remember Gerald as personable and political, very committed, highly intelligent, erudite and sensitive, witty and wry, a man of real integrity. I am glad I knew him, once apon a time. Hamba kahle, Gerald!
Gordon Hudson (We shared some time toget)
October 22nd, 2014
My thoughts are with you Andre and Brenda, I have not seen Gerald in a long, long time but I was in touch with him, his life and his work through you. Stay strong.
Mark Abrahams (Friend)
October 22nd, 2014
I carry with me very fond memories of the times I spent with Gerald (and Maureen, Steve and Jaqui) in Delft and Amersfoort in the Netherlands in our early 20's, doing the wild things that 20 year-olds do. Hamba kahle, Gerald.
Neil Alperstein (Friend)
October 22nd, 2014
It is really difficult to pay sufficient tribute to Gerald. He was one of the most wonderfuld people I have ever had the honour of knowing and working with. He had a fine mind, and was completely committed to the cause of human freedom. With others we set up the Committee on South African War Resistance (to give it its politically correct if clumsy name) in Amsterdam and London. Later we worked together at the International Defence and Aid Fund. We spent many hours working out how to tackle apartheid militarism and writing and editing the journal 'Resister'. We almost always agreed (after sufficient discussion at pubs) on the way forward. He also played an important if unacknowledged role in bringing the exiled ANC to understand the politics and dynamics of the internal resistance (especially the 'white left') and in loosening the grip of its often stifling Soviet-style political orthodoxy, later turning to the new social movements and promoting LGBTI. Coincentally on the day he died I responded to months of cajoling by my daughter Maja and bought her a kitten. Unprompted she has named it for Gerald. A small thing, but it shows the way he affected so wonderfully everyone who knew him. We are all the lesser for losing him.
Gavin Cawthra (Friend and comrade )
October 22nd, 2014
My best memories of Gerald are when we worked together on Communities Commission and Wages Commission when we were students at UCT in the 1970s. We also shared a house in Polo Road in Obs. I remember us returning to our house and not realising a burglary had taken place until I realised that as we were talking the lounge, Gerald was playing with a coat hanger lying around. He was such a gentle and sensitive person when I was close to him. Hamba Kahle, Gerald
Di Cooper (Friend)
October 22nd, 2014
Glimpses of Gerald Kraak

Year: 1977
Unlike Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town in the 1970s had a “wages commission”. Students were working with real workers. Producing and selling a workers’ newspaper. Gerald spoke about the project at a Nusas conference in Durban. Back in Grahamstown, the idea of a newspaper for the community had been hatched by Gideon Cohen, but then he was banned. The idea survived, under the name of “Grahamstown Voice / Ilizwe lase Rhini”. And so the first edition was assembled, its contents a mix of English and isiXhosa, and of church news and political pieces. So, where to print it, and with what funds? The answer: Gerald Kraak. And so, I drove with Jeanne Chunnett down to Cape Town. We found our man. He was a bit surprised. But he readily printed the paper on the UCT press. We took it back to Grahamstown, piled high on the back seat. Soon, that will be 40 years ago. Gerald’s solidarity was absolutely automatic. It was repeated many times in later years.

Year 1985
After nerve-wracking (and -wrecking) hiding out from security police over three months, I left for London. Took a chance and went on my passport through the then Jan Smuts. Tense as hell, and tearful. The flight headed for an unfamiliar destination, keeping with it the ache of uncertainty and hundreds of comrades in detention. On arrival at Heathrow, the phone book supplied a number for Gerald’s workplace. He was employed at the International Defence and Aid Fund. The line was out of order, but at least there was an address – Hyde Park. Found my way there… only to find found that IDAF had moved. Fortunately, the new occupants were able direct me to the new address. A coat forgotten on the Tube, a 100 or so stairs climbed at Angel station, and a backpack weighed down by stress, the new refugee arrived at the IDAF offices. Gerald was a bit surprised. Then he showed his solidarity. Soon I was part of a network which provided the support and accommodation that is so important for political exiles.
[Recent tributes have mentioned Gerald’s more recent novel and movie. From this period, let us also remember that he was a key writer in “Resister”, the journal of the Congress of South African War Resisters; and at IDAF he produced “Breaking the Chains: Labour in South Africa in the '70s and '80s”]

Year: 2002
Atlantic Philanthropies, where Gerald worked, was looking for worthy projects with universities they could support. The experience of the alternative press seemed to show that education in media management was needed to help the sustainability of the sector. Gerald received a proposal that he fund a form of business development. He was a bit surprised. Yet he did the usual, and the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership was born. Two years later, he was again surprised, and again he repeated his trust in my project ideas when he agreed to fund Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies to buy its own newspaper. This support kept Grocott’s Mail as an independently owned paper, and ever since the publication has been a practical teaching lab for future journalists.

Year 2014:
In the unpredictable nature of memories, the following images surfaced today. Keeping Gerald waiting in London – for more than an hour on one occasion. And yet he waited. Another time, arriving so late at his flat, I had to leave immediately after making my excuses, else I would miss a plane.
Most other people would have written off a person who did that kind of thing. Gerald didn’t.
Looking back, who, now, is left with a feeling of surprise?
Guy Berger
October 22nd, 2014
I am still too shocked and distressed to say anything very eloquent here. Like many people I knew Gerald in the70's in Cape Town, and visited him occasionally in the Netherlands. It was during his years in London that we became closer friends. For a period some of us used to meet every Thursday evening at the Fallen Angel pub in Islington. Last time I saw Gerald in Joburg, he seemed perfectly well. He said he was working on his second novel. I wonder if he got anywhere with that or whether he put all his energy into work-related publications. Thank heaven he did finish, publish and win recognition for the first novel. I was looking forward to his next, and to evenings spent..... can't yet come to terms with this loss
Ian Webber (friend)
October 21st, 2014
At the end of the tunultuous year 1976 (having spent a bit of time in jail)we wrote exams and looked for vac jobs. I got one as the first warden of Vogelgat Nature Reserve near Hermanus, and Gerald and Lisa Thorne came to stay with me in my mountain hut one weekend. Gerald read short stories to us in the candlelight and we never wanted to go to sleep. That cadent, gentle and lyrical voice...I shall never forget it. We hiked the mountain trails, and Gerald not being a great outdoorsman, got a bit stuck on a ledge just above a rock pool. I can still see us below him edging him along so that he felt safer. The years at UCT were the stuff that our friendship was forged on, a strong weld of politics, activism, debate, laughter and the pain of separation from banning orders and exile and all the other events that made us the adults we became. Gerald's compassion, insight, work ethic, free thinking and versatility is something unique. He also taught me how to structure an essay (I had no idea) and we worked together at vac jobs at SALDRU. London years was when I next saw him, and the pattern continued, always hospitable, always interesting. We are profoundly affected by his life and mourn his loss equally. Hamba kahle my dearest friend.
Laura Hall-Levetan (longtime friend)
October 21st, 2014
I met Gerald in 1989 when I was a postgrad student researching war resisters, in awe of the exiled South African community in London. I then worked with him in COSAWR and will always remember arriving on his doorstep for a meeting one Sunday, him opening the door, leaning on the doorframe and groaning "when will I learn not to combine dagga and red wine?". (A helpful and memorable life lesson). In the years since, we bumped into each other at meetings and parties in Joburg, through mutual friends and work; and every time he was witty, wry and making creative civil society politics possible. His legacy is enormous. And he made me laugh.
Janine Rauch (friend)
October 21st, 2014
So many Memories of times spent together as young children and high shool friends...deeply saddened by your early passing.. Thoughts and prayers are with your family
Denny Galgoczy ( nee Wasserfall ) (Northcliff High School Fr)
October 21st, 2014
I knew Gerald when he started working for Atlantic Philanthropies; he was smart, astute, and bold; he shaped agendas of grant-making in progressive and imaginative ways. Serious and principled, but also wonderfully irreverent. Generous and compassionate too. Thanks Gerald for your creativity and your courage. Will miss you.
Deborah Posel
October 21st, 2014
This is unspeakably sad. Our wonderful friend, housemate, comrade, culture vulture and fabulous style icon, you will be sorely missed. From those old days of covert visits to Amsterdam, to sharing your upstairs bath with our kids in St Thomas' Rd, to those long evenings discussing politics and film when you popped back to London - dearest G, you have a special place in our hearts. We'll toast you with some of the gold stuff and remember your warmth, intellect, laughter and love always. Ingrid and Sandy.
Ingrid Falck (friend)
October 21st, 2014
I have so many memories of exciting, turbulent and youthful times in Holland many many years ago. Lots of naughty and often uproarious laughter, and serious discussions too, about the bad but loved South Africa of the time. We hadn't met much over the last few years but there was a strong bond that lasted over decades. He will be missed by many.
Maureen Robinson (Friend from years ago)
October 21st, 2014
I can't stop hearing his voice. Such a special blend of seemed. It's a voice with which I still hear very specific sentences that have resonated with me through the years. And yet it is not fixed...I remember how it could provoke, amuse, seduce, inspire, confess and - on occasion- infuriate. In the years ahead I will listen for it. I will be glad that I heard it and wish I had listened to it more. I miss it and all the memories it holds.
Nick Ishmael-Perkins
October 21st, 2014
I met Gerald when he was working for InterFund, and was allocated the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust portfolio. That was the beginning of a friendship of which I have many happy memories, both in South Africa and here in York, UK. I loved his irreverence and his politically incorrect sense of humour - both essential for the preservation of sanity in what were immensely difficult days for him and others working for change in SA. Jane and I recall with great fondness his visits here, when he stayed with us, and we enjoyed meals (yes, and drinks...) together. He will be much missed.
Steven Burkeman (Friend & erstwhile collea)
October 21st, 2014
It is very important in everything in life (from friendship, to politics, to what movie to see or what book to read, or what grant to make) to have a good critic .... an insightful critic, an informed critic, an intelligent critic, a generous and caring critic. To have a critic with a sense of humour and a flagrant flair for saying and seeing things as they are is a huge advantage. Gerald for me was that. He lived his life his way and that is to be respected. He did loose books quite a lot. Miss you.
sharon fonn (friend )
October 21st, 2014
Gerald Kraak: Friend, Colleague, Champion of Human Rights and Reconciliation.

We are deeply saddened to announce that our longtime colleague and friend, Gerald Kraak, passed away on Sunday evening after struggling with cancer over the past several months.
Gerald was a Programme Executive for Atlantic’s Reconciliation & Human Rights Programme in South Africa, an award-winning author and a lifelong activist for human rights.
His creativity, passion and commitment to holding South Africa to its promise of rights and equality for all people was evident in all of his grantmaking for The Atlantic Philanthropies.
Our hearts go out to his family, colleagues and countless friends.

Follow this link to see a video, narrated by Gerald, of the work done in South Africa by AP
Atlantic Philanthropies
October 20th, 2014
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Gerald Kraak – a beloved friend, comrade, mentor and supporter of the South African lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) movement.
It is no exaggeration to say that the sector as we know it would not have been possible without Gerald’s vision, courage and determination. As the head of the South African office of Atlantic Philanthropies, Gerald was responsible for a major shift in the funding landscape, one that reinvigorated and forever altered our movement. ...
When Gerald became part of the funding sector in the mid-1990s, very few donors were willing to support the then-nascent LGBTI movement. At the time, most regarded sexuality and gender rights as secondary to the ‘big’ issues facing the new South Africa. This attitude was mirrored in the politics of the day: in a country plagued by racial inequality, economic disparity and violence, the ‘gay and lesbian question’ was viewed at best with suspicion and at worst with contempt and revulsion.
Gerald Kraak thought differently. He believed that South Africa’s transformation would not be possible unless all people – including LGBTI persons – could access their human and socio- economic rights. His broad vision for social justice encompassed all South Africans – from migrants and refugees to farm workers to activists fighting for freedom of information.
But Gerald did more than offer financial assistance to a fledgling movement: his foresight created space for a crucial transformation to take place. Through Gerald’s support, particularly after joined Atlantic Philanthropies in the early 2000s, new organisations were able to emerge and existing groups were able to re-evaluate their approach. The impact the funding Gerald provided is apparent in the new generation of black community leaders, specifically those from townships and rural areas, who came to the fore during this period. ...
It is also through Gerald’s expansive vision that transgender and intersex struggles became included in the broader LGBTI agenda in South Africa. With his support, for the first time, transgender activists could formalise themselves and create strong organisations. This validation contributed towards shifting the transgender movement from the margins.
When Atlantic began its phased withdrawal from South Africa, Gerald acted to ensure sustainability of the movement. More than any other person, he was crucial in the establishment of the Other Foundation. In its first year, the fund has already demonstrated its commitment to advancing the rights of LGBTI people in Southern Africa. None of this would have been possible with Gerald’s tireless work. ...
We thank you, Gerald, for all that you have done to make this world a better place. A luta continua!
Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL):
Durban Lesbian & Gay Community and Health Centre: Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW):
Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA):
Gender DynamiX:
Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival:
OUT Wellbeing:
Pietermaritzburg Gay and Lesbian Network:
Triangle Project:
LGBTI Movement South Africa
October 20th, 2014
I can't even remember when I met Gerald - he just seems to have been there always. As a wonderful generous friend, who liked nothing better than late night conversation about politics and love, with the television on, and Lovemore and Sweet Thing on his lap, and his long elegant fingers curled around his glass of whiskey. And as a colleague. So deeply committed to seeing possibilities and opportunities and making things work in their own special way, when many of us had thrown in the towel.
carla sutherland (friend)
October 20th, 2014
61 entries
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"So very sad to hear of the passing of a human rights giant in our country. He inspired me as a young student through his kindness, humour and unswerving commitment to justice. It is clear that his work has touched thousands of lives for the better"
Sue Myrdal
November 7th, 2014
"I was at school and UCT with Gerald and Andre, and always admired Gerald's intellect, and political commitment. He remained humane and funny, and cultured, and although it has now been years since I last saw him, I am very saddened by his death."
Julian Stern
November 2nd, 2014
"I am a neighbour of Gerald's who walks most mornings past his beautiful balcony and salute him. He will leave a big gap in our lives of gentle kindness, astute analysis, humour and love of literature ~ go well brother Sherry"
Sherry McLean
November 2nd, 2014
"A great friend and colleague who had a wonderful, mischievous sense of fun. He was a very talented grant-maker who achieved so much through his work. He will be sorely missed."
John Healy
November 1st, 2014
"Such good memories of our friendship way-back at Westerford and at UCT, so proud of what you've achieved, so very sad for you that your life has been cut short far too soon. You'll never be forgotten, dear Gerald."
Lydia Szapiro
November 1st, 2014
"Saddened by Gerald's death. I met him in South Africa and Ireland and was impressed by his belief that the struggle for justice and human rights had to continue after the end of apartheid and his pain at continuing inequality. Michael Farrell, FLAC."
Michael Farrell
November 1st, 2014
"I had the pleasure of working with Gerald for a short while. He was sweet and kind with a deliciously wicked sense of humour. Travel well Gerald. You are missed."
Bev Gillespie
November 1st, 2014
"Gerald's contribution and legacy to LGBTI and human rights struggles, and to philanthropy, are legendary. Gerald, you are greatly missed and loved."
Laurie Adams
October 28th, 2014
"Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the infinite peace to you. (Adapted from - ancient gaelic runes)"
Jane Forman
October 27th, 2014
"In loving memory of dearest Gerald. A candle shines brightly in Norwich Cathedral for you today. Thank you for many years of friendship. Penny Plowman Sunday October 26th, 2014"
Penny Plowman
October 26th, 2014

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