Mary Burton: Patron of the Black Sash

22 June 2017 | Photo Michael Hammond.

Mary Burton, who joined the Black Sash in 1965, is only the second person to be honoured by being named as the movement’s patron.

Burton served as regional chair for several terms, as national president from 1986 to 1990, and is a founder of what is now known as The Black Sash Trust. Besides holding high office within the organisation, she has always been known for her work ‘on the ground’.

Apart from her extensive work in the Black Sash, Burton was the provincial electoral officer of the Independent Electoral Commission in the Western Cape during the 1994 elections, and a commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She served as deputy chairperson of the Council of the University of Cape Town and as chairperson of Convocation.

Burton has been the recipient of many awards and commendations, including the UCT Vice-Chancellor’s medal. She received an honorary doctorate from the university in 2011.

Her acclaimed history of the Black Sash, entitled The Black Sash: Women for Justice and Peace, was published in 2015.

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