Diana (Di) Bishop

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Biographical information

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Political Activist.

First name: 
Diana (Di)
Last name: 
Location of birth: 
Cape Town

Diana Bishop was born in Cape Town. She made her first political statement at age eleven in 1961 when South Africa became a republic. During the celebrations, she refused to attend a military display, influencing her other siblings to do the same and this was punishable in her father’s eyes. Di obtained an Honours Degree in Social Work and worked as a social worker for many years. After getting married in 1975, her husband, Brian introduced her to the Black Sash movement. In the Black Sash she was involved in monitoring the Langa Pass Law court, believing that their presence would expose the injustice that accompanied Pass Laws.

In 1981 she was elected a member of the Provincial Council for the Progressive Federal Party. She was asked by the Cape administrator to leave her position in the Black Sash but she chose not to. Throughout the 1980s, Di became involved in tracking down missing persons, who had disappeared from squatter camps. In 1981, after she and a friend were found in a Port Elizabeth township without permits, Di was arrested for the first time. In 1985, during the State of Emergency, she was picked up once again in an “off-limits” area but was release when they discovered that the person in her company was in fact an American judge.

In September1985, her house was tear-gassed and in November of the same year her car was burned right outside her house. Over the years Di received many threatening phone calls and some death threats. She continued with her work in the struggle even after an automobile accident left her injured and killed her husband.

Last updated : 28-May-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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