What most of you – especially those of us living abroad – might not know is that the local airport these days are not called Bloemfontein or Mangaung Airport, but Bram Fischer Airport. It was renamed to this by president Jacob Zuma in December 2012 saying by renaming the Bloem/Mangaung airport to Bram Fisher International Airport government is “advancing the programme of building monuments and creating new symbols that are reflective of (a) shared heritage and destiny as South Africans”.
The Prez said: “We are honoured to name the entry point by air to Mangaung, after this national hero. Current and future generations will draw lessons from the life of Bram Fischer and his selfless contribution to this country.”
But who was Bram Fischer?
Abram Louis Fischer (Bram to his chommies) was born in what was then still called Bloemfontein on 23 April 1908. As an Afrikaner he was also an anti-apartheid activist, the leader of the SA Communist Party and part of the legal defence team of anti-apartheid figures, including Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial. His father was Percy Fischer, a Judge President of the Orange Free State, and his grandfather was Abraham Fischer, a prime minister of the Orange River Colony.
Nelson Mandela said of him: “From a prominent Afrikaner family, he gave up a life of privilege, rejected his heritage, and was ostracized by his own people, showing “a level of courage and sacrifice that was in a class by itself.”
Bram Fischer died in 1975 after he contracted cancer while imprisoned by the country’s apartheid bosses.
Zuma said of him at the renaming of the airport: Bram Fischer and his generation of freedom fighters pioneering the struggle for liberation and kept the dream of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, free and prosperous South Africa alive.
“Let this renamed airport stand as a timeless reminder of the role Bram Fischer and his generation of freedom fighters played in the history of our struggle for liberation.” –