Press Release by the Permanent Mission
of South Africa to the United Nations on the Death of
Paul Irish, a Leader of the US Anti-Apartheid Movement
United Nations, New York, 01 April 2004: The Permanent
Mission of South Africa to the United Nations has learnt
with sadness of the death of Paul Irish, a leader of
the US anti-apartheid movement, who died on Monday in
The Permanent Representative of South Africa to the
United Nations, Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo Ambassador
said, "Paul Irish was one of the unknown contributors
to our Ten Years of Democracy. It is important that
we remember all those that played a role in the global
struggle against apartheid. I am certain that friends
of Paul, particularly those in the Government of South
Africa, will miss him".
Paul Irish was Associate Director of the African Committee
on Africa and its associate, The African Fund, both
major US national organisations supporting African struggles
against colonialism and apartheid from the early 1970s
through the early 1980s. He worked closely with the
African National Congress, SWAPO and the other African
liberation movements throughout the continent.
In 1977 he played a key role in the campaign against
the sale of the South African gold coin, the Krugerrand,
which resulted in the department store Abraham and Straus
stopping sales of the coin. That same year he released
a document proving that Polaroid products were being
sold to the South African government's Bantu Reference
Bureau, responsible for African passes, despite the
company's claim that no sales were made to the government.
This resulted in Polaroid ending all sales in the country
which marked the beginning of disinvestment from
South Africa as many US companies followed suit.
Paul Irish also played a key role in the campaign to
get US colleges, churches, states and cities to divest
from companies doing business in apartheid South Africa.
He arranged for material support for refugee camps for
exiles from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
After democracy came to South Africa in 1994, Paul
Irish went back to teaching kindergarten kids which
was always his first love.
Issued by the Permanent Mission of South Africa
01 April 2004