THE LIFE OF RICK TURNER: A TRIBUTE

 

THE LIFE OF RICK TURNER: A TRIBUTE

 

Sourced from: http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/people/bios/turner-r.htm

 

Tags (key words): Rick Turner, South Africa, academics, writers, quiet heroes

 

Turner, Richard Albert David  
Date of Birth: 25 September 1941
Date of Death: 1978
Place of Birth: Cape Town, South Africa
Place of Death: Durban, South Africa
Gender: Male
In Summary: Visionary academic who inspired a generation of young activists (student’s movements) and helped galvanize the labor movement’s resurgence before his assassination in 1978.

 

 

 

Ric Turner

Life And Times :

The son of a successful builder, Turner was born in Cape Town on 25 September 1941. He grew up in Stellenbosch and completed an Honours degree in philosophy at the University of Cape Town in 1963. He married Barbara Hubbard in 1964.

In 1966 he earned a doctorate at the Sorbonne with a thesis on the political philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre. Observing the nascent French student movement convinced him that students could wield genuine power. He returned to South Africa and took up a series of teaching posts before moving to the University of Natal in 1970. The year 1970 also saw the end of his first marriage and the beginning of his second, to Foszia Fisher. This second marriage, according to Muslim rites, was not legally recognised in South Africa. A passionate lecturer pioneering the teaching of radical political philosophy and an advisor to the National Union of South African Students, Turner encouraged activism by whites in the aftermath of the 1969 departure of blacks from NUSAS. With the help of Harriet Bolton and others, he assisted white students to get involved in the organisation of black workers, spurring the formation of the NUSAS Wages Commissions. A moving force behind the Institute for Industrial Education and the South African Labour Bulletin* during and after the Durban strikes of 1973, he helped to recruit and train many future labour organisers.

Turner’s friendship with Steve Biko and others in the Durban-based black consciousness movement enabled him also to act as an effective interpreter of black thinking to politically conscious whites. Though he converted to Islam in 1970 to marry his second wife, Turner maintained a continuous dialogue with students in the University Christian Movement and other church-based activists. As a contributor to the publications of the Study Project on Christianity in Apartheid Society (SPROCAS), he compelled his colleagues to consider more radical recommendations than those prescribed by traditional liberalism. In an influential response to the final report of the SPROCAS Political Commission in 1973, he wrote the utopian The Eye of the Needle*, in which he envisioned a decentralized socialist society. The “Durban Moment” of intellectual excitement centring on Turner ended when he was banned along with seven national NUSAS leaders in March 1973. He continued informally to advise unions and remained in contact with student leaders, but it became illegal for him to teach, publish or be quoted. A brief respite from his non-person status occurred when he testified as a defence witness during the 1975-76 trial of “the SASO Nine.”

The University of Natal showed its support of Dr. Turner by keeping him on the academic staff, although he could not teach in terms of his banning order.

 

  SAHO Related Links
Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement
SAHO’s online library: The Eye of the Needle, a book by Ric Turner
Feature: South African Student Organisation
  Sources for this biography
Teresa Barnes, Gail M Gerhart, Thomas G Karis, Antony J Levine and Nimrod Mkele, From Protest to Challenge: Political Profiles, 1964-1990*, volume 7.
Indiana University Press and University of South Africa Press (forthcoming)

 

 

Newspaper headline with a picture of the front window of Richard Turner’s home in Durban
Last updated August 2007

In 1976 the government denied him permission to take up a prestigious Humboldt fellowship in Germany. Shortly after midnight on 8 January, 1978, two months before his ban was due to expire, Turner was shot through a window of his suburban Durban home and died in the arms of his 13-year old daughter, Jann. Following four months after Biko’s death in detention, Turner’s murder created a public outcry.

Predictably, police investigations turned up no clues, and his killers were never identified.

– South African History Online –

Sourced from: http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/people/bios/turner-r.htm

    * For, as Alan. Paton comments in the foreword, “Richard Turner’s The Eye of the. Needle is an essay on our condition, as searching as any that has ever been written…”

Rick Turner (philosopher)

Rick Turner (philosopher)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Turner_(philosopher)

 

 

Richard Turner (1942, Stellenbosch – January 8, 1978), known as Rick Turner, was a South African philosopher who was allegedly assassinated by the apartheid state in 1978. Nelson Mandela described Turner “as a source of inspiration”.

Turner graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1963 attaining a B.A. Honours. He continued his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris where he received a doctorate for a dissertation on the French intellectual, Jean-Paul Sartre.

He returned to South Africa in 1966 and worked on his mother’s farm in Stellenbosch for two years before lecturing at the universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Rhodes. He moved to Natal in 1970 and become a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Natal and in that same year he met Steve Biko and the two formed a close relationship.

Turner became a prominent academic at the University and assumed a leading role in South African political science and published a number of papers. His work was written from a radical existential perspective and stressed the virtues of bottom up popular democracy against authoritarian Stalinist and Trotskyist strands of leftism. He was a strong advocate of workers control and a critic of the reduction of politics to party politics.

In 1972 Turner wrote a book called The Eye of the Needle – Towards Participatory Democracy In South Africa. * The South African authorities thought that the book exercised a strong influence on opposition thinking with its plea for a radically democratic and non-racial South Africa. Such a society, he argued, would liberate whites as well as blacks.

In 1973 he published a widely influential article titled “Dialectical Reason”, in the British journal Radical Philosophy. In the same year he was banned by the South African authorities for five years. He was not allowed to visit his two daughters or his mother and had to stay in the Durban area. Even though he was banned this did not stop him from speaking out and in April 1973 Turner and other banned individuals staged an Easter fast to illustrate the sufferings that bannings impose on people. The fast was supported by the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. After his bannings Dr Turner was kept on the staff at the University even though he was not allowed to lecture.

He attended the Saso terrorism trial of nine Black Consciousness movement leaders as a defence witness in March 1976 where he expounded on theories expressed in The Eye of the Needle.

In November 1976 Dr Turner received a Humboldt Fellowship, one of the world’s leading academic awards from Heidelberg University, but after months of negotiating with the Minister of Justice was refused permission to travel to Germany.

In September 1977 Steve Biko was murdered by the apartheid police.

On January 8, 1978, Turner was shot through a window of his home in Dalton Avenue, Bellair, and died in the arms of his 13-year old daughter, Jann. After months of investigations and predictably so, police investigations turned up with no clues, and his killers were never identified. However it is widely believed that he was murdered by the apartheid security police.

Turner has been largely left out of the pantheon of post-apartheid heroes. Most of his former comrades ascribe this to his focus on popular self management and bottom up democracy which is very uncomfortable for the post-apartheid state which is notoriously authoritarian (mixing neo-liberal managerialism with Stalinism in its practices).

He is recognised as the most significant academic philosopher to have come out of South Africa. His work is still read in popular radical movements and leading South African academics like Anthony Fluxman, Mabogo Percy More, Andrew Nash and Peter Vale have continued to make use of his work.

Turner’s first wife, Barbara Follett, later became a British Labour Party Member of Parliament.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Turner_(philosopher)

     

  1. * For, as Alan. Paton comments in the foreword, “Richard Turner’s The Eye of the. Needle is an essay on our condition, as searching as any that has ever been written…”

Shared by craig

 

The submitter’s new “work” is a story of “ordinary” men and women: people, heroes, like Rick Turner, David Webster and Anton Lubowski and so many others of all shades (but mostly black), who made the ultimate sacrifice, yet whose strong sense of justice and decency led to their making their own unique contribution to the liberation of South Africa (and Namibia). The stories in my new work not only shine a light on South Africa’s turbulent and often dark past, but tell us something about the present. Therefore, it is vitally important to understand the mind of a person, the “enemy“. And that is the mindset we are truly going to have to understand to “win this current ‘war against terror’. So, by only looking to history, we always find something, a ray of hope to illuminate the present and the future.”

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

 

The most noble aspects of the human spirit – unquenchable in its search for freedom and justice.”

 

 

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15 Responses to “THE LIFE OF RICK TURNER: A TRIBUTE”

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  14. craig lock Says:

    Thanks for the follow/link/like/reblog/comment and/or kind thought(s)

    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”

    I’ve had many many hundreds of thousands (“zillions”) of comments on my various other WordPress blogs at https://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/craigs-list-of-blogs-updated-sept-2011/
    in recent years …true!) …a few of my blogs went “balistically viral” a few years back.

    Obsessive or WHAT! Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share. However I am unable to keep up with the comments and was spending entire days just on replies on my various blog pages.

    Though I’m rather “driven”, I still get really, really fatigued (there’s a few books there). so sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”), I got swamped with comments on my various blogs, so have had to close them off on all of my blogs, except for one or two of particular interest to me.

    Sorry and hope you can understand.

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.a
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    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    When (or if ever) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”

    – as adapted from the inspiring words of Jonathan Edwards, former minister in New England, Massachusetts

    “The Greatest Race: Living by (with) faith, hope and love is the highest podium any person can reach, God’s podium that anyone stand on.”
    – c

    “Having pursued the goals, the dreams set before us and run the race with persistence and endurance, after giving it all. Then one day standing on the summit of life, breathing in the pure sweet oxygen of achievement, totally satisfied in running the greatest race, the race of life one that ANYONE can run and win.”

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    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
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    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

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    “I wish you well on a rainy day
    I wish you rainbows to brighten your day
    To feel your quiet moments with a special kind of warmth
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