About HSF

The Helen Suzman Foundation aims to promote constitutional democracy, rule of law and human rights in South Africa.

What the HSF does

The Helen Suzman Foundation aims to promote constitutional democracy, rule of law and human rights in South Africa. In particular it seeks to undertake public interest litigation that safeguards the rights of vulnerable persons who are unable to utilise the ordinary political process in order to do so; to support public advocacy interventions and dialogue that promote public participation and deliberation and so result in informed, reasoned decision-making; and to end impunity for systematic criminal conduct destructive of a constitutional state — whether for state capture-related crimes or apartheid era atrocities.

"From Helen I learnt that there could be no compromise on human rights, but that it was essential to be correct on the law and accurate with the facts.” – John Dugard.

About Helen Suzman

The Helen Suzman Foundation was founded in 1993 to honour the life work of Helen Suzman. The Foundation seeks to promote the values espoused by Helen Suzman throughout her public life and in her devotion to public service.

Helen Suzman became an MP in 1953, going on to serve for a further 36 years. For 13 of those years Helen was the sole Progressive MP in Parliament and for 6 years was the only female parliamentarian. She consistently challenged discriminatory legislation and the spate of security laws introduced by the Apartheid government.

One of Helen’s most respected qualities was her unyielding belief in “going to see for yourself”.

Helen helped where she could, raising the difficult issues when they needed to come to the fore. She worked tirelessly as a public servant, lending her voice to those who were powerless and persecuted. It is to honour these values that the Foundation continues her life’s work.

“By liberalism I don’t mean the creed of any party or any century. I mean generosity of spirit, a tolerance of others, an attempt to comprehend otherness, a commitment to the rule of law, a high ideal of the worth and dignity of man, a repugnance for authoritarianism and a love of freedom.” — Alan Paton

Read more about Helen's fearlessness in exposing the viciousness and irrationality of Apartheid's policies, read Archbishop Desmond Tutu's tribute here.

Read more about the solidarity she showed political detainees, read Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke's tribute to Helen here.

Read more tributes to Helen in the Suzman Tribute edition of Focus here.