Helen Suzman

An exhibition honouring Helen Suzman, who spent 36 years as an opposition Member of Parliament, opened at the South African Jewish Museum in March 2005.

As South Africa’s foremost woman politician, Helen Suzman was internationally acclaimed for her unrelenting opposition to apartheid. The exhibition showcases Helen Suzman’s life and work in film, print and photography, and focuses on her work in and outside Parliament.

Helen Suzman exemplified courage and integrity. She visited prisons and campaigned for improved conditions. She was present at scenes of forced removals, and she reported on the living conditions in townships and rural areas. She exposed police torture and opposed separate development.

Throughout her long career she campaigned fearlessly against laws such as the Immorality Act, the Group Areas Act, Forced Removals, the Pass Laws and the Death Penalty. She was the only MP to vote against the Terrorism Bill of 1967. In an era of censorship, she raised critical issues in Parliament, enabling the press to publish information that would not otherwise have been made public.