We pay tribute to Anne Finsen (1917 - 2012)

Anne Finsen (1917 - 2012)Anne Finsen, who was a founder member of the Black Sash, died this week at the age of 94. She joined the Black Sash in 1956. In the early days she was involved in the work of the organisation in all sorts of ways. This part of her life is shown wonderfully on the video that was made of the first Sashers. 

Anne had a great interest in what she called ‘the young’. She would fetch and carry, look after children during stands and was always generous in offering her home regularly for Wynberg Branch meetings. It was in this role that we knew her best. Anne never betrayed her principles. She was staunch and upright and always ready to help with the actions she proposed. 

Privacy was a great part of Anne’s personality. A quiet woman but not shy, Anne would argue with the best of us. She would raise her points with great dignity. Once a decision was made she accepted it wholeheartedly and never complained. In the Sash she contributed to the debates on all levels, both at Branch level and as a member of the Regional Council. Anne never missed a meeting, nor was she ever late. She belonged to the Sash Media Group which created and produced things to sell for funds but also made stickers and the like with political messages. It was Anne’s inspiration that resulted in the little T-shirt sticker that became so well known on car windows during the 80’s.

Anne has died, but she is carried in our hearts along with an affection that has grown up over more than 30 years. She will be missed for her kindness, wisdom, integrity and the elegance of her generation which made working with her so special.

Anne’s funeral service will be held at 10:00 on Monday 22nd October, 2012 at St Saviour’s Church, Claremont.

Beva Runciman
Ann van der Riet
Rose Meny-Gibert
Mary Burton

 


CONSTANTIABERG BULLETIN 08 Nov 2012 

by Beva Runciman

Anne Finsen has died. Sometimes the death of an individual sends echoes from a life which draws an end to an era. And for me there is a hole in the universe. Anne was a founder member of the Black Sash. She joined in1956. In the early days she was involved in the work of the organisation in all sorts of ways.

This part of her life is shown wonderfully on the video that was made of the first Sashes. Anne stood with placards, in groups in the early days but later, alone, as the government tried to muzzle the Black Sash. She sat in courtrooms, set up only to process people who had no "pass" for being in Cape Town, to witness this inhumane law and its application.

This was heartbreaking as so many of them were women with children, looking for their husbands or bringing sick children to hospital. Anne took part in many activities, all of which made for a very busy life.

Outside the Wynberg library, in 1979, I was lucky enough to meet Anne gathering signatures protesting about the removal of District Six.

We got talking and ended up with her inviting me to a Wynberg branch meeting. And so my life with the Sash started.

Anne had a great interest in what she called "the young". She would fetch and carry, look after children during stands and was always generous in offering her home for Wynberg branch meetings.

It was in this role that we knew her best. Anne never betrayed her principles. She was staunch and upright and always ready to help with the actions she proposed.

A quiet woman but not shy, Anne would argue with the best of us. She would raise her points with great dignity. Once a decision was made, she accepted it wholeheartedly and never complained.

In the Sash she contributed to the debates on all levels, both at branch level and as a member of the regional council, where all branches sent delegates to discuss Sash regional business. Here she took part in the political thinking which shaped the policies and actions of the Western Cape Black Sash region. These meetings were weekly and quite a commitment. Anne never missed a meeting, nor was she ever late.

Privacy was a great part of Anne's personality. One became aware that she was very proud of her father and had close ties to her sisters Peggy, also a Sasher, and Elizabeth, who went to the Aldeburgh Festival every year. Elizabeth loved Benjamin Britten. The four of us had merry times together.

Art was very present in Anne's life. She belonged to the Sash Media Group where we created and produced things to sell for funds. We also made stickers, and the like, to highlight political messages. Anne was the one who said "Why don't we put the message on a sticker cut in the shape of small Tshirt?" We did and it was a winner. These flashes of creativity made her a very welcome participant in any group work. And she had an awesome attic. Lots of things went on under that roof.

I have seen Anne during this year and on one visit she said, "I'm going to tell you a secret. I know you have been dying to ask for years." I sat riveted. "I am 94 years old and I shall be 95 on 30th of October."

She was right; I had been dying to ask forever. I owned up and we laughed and laughed. Anne is dead. But she is carried in our hearts along with an affection that has grown up over more than 30 years.

She will be missed. No more tea with Anne. Beva Runciman joined the Black Sash in 1980. She was the chairperson of the Western Cape region and the chair'person of the Wynberg branch, which Anne Finsen belonged to. The Black Sash was established in 1955 when they were a non-violent white women's resistance organisation.

The Black Sash campaigned against the removal of coloured or mixed race voters from the voters' roll in the Cape Province by the National Party government. They also demonstrated against the pass laws and the introduction of other apartheid legislation.


CAPE TIMES  01 Nov 2012

Sash stalwart dies 

Anne Finsen, who was a founder member of the Black Sash, died recently at the age of 94. She joined the Black Sash in 1956.

Anne had a great interest in what she called "the young". She would fetch and carry look after children during stands and was always generous in offering her home regularly for VVynberg branch meetings. It was in this role that we knew her best. She never betrayed her principles, was staunch and upright and always ready to help with the action she proposed.

A quiet woman, Anne would argue with the best of us. She would raise her points with great dignity, and once a decision was made, she accepted it wholeheartedly and never complained. In the Sash, she contributed to the debates at all levels, both at branch and as a member of the regional council. She never missed a meeting, nor was she ever late.

Anne has died, but she is carried in our hearts with an affection that has grown up over more than 30 years. She will be missed for her kindness, wisdom, integrity and the elegance of her generation, which made working with her so special.
 
BEVA RUNCIMAN
MARY BURTON
ROSE MENY-GIBERY 
ANN VAN PER RIET
MEMBERS, WYNBERG BLACK SASH