KNYSNA NEWS - A memorial service for Ina Perlman, Garden Route resident and passionate fighter for social justice both during and post-apartheid, was held at Temple Emmanuel, Parktown, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, July 4.
Her death followed the onset of a brief and sudden illness. Perlman passed away on Thursday, June 28 at her home in Nature's Valley at the age of 86.
In life, she was committed to many a cause aimed at social reform in South Africa. She is perhaps most widely remembered and appreciated for founding Operation Hunger, a non-profit organisation aimed at alleviating poverty along with malnutrition and hunger, in 1980. With Perlman's help, Operation Hunger had fed millions of impoverished people - many of them children - and it still operates today.
She held the strong belief that major shifts come about as a cumulative result of smaller, more gradual changes, summing up her views in these words: "This business of 'it's too big to handle' is the best excuse for doing nothing. I'm a firm believer in the drops-in-the-ocean concept."
On her wall was a quote from the US activist Norman Thomas: "My life has not been spent in serving lost causes. My life has been spent in serving causes not yet won."
In this spirit, she put everything into her work, whether it was for Operation Hunger or in community projects in Nature's Valley. It was here in the Southern Cape where she worked and spent her final years, maintaining that she felt greatly enriched in return. She is survived by four children - Rosemary, David, Harriet and John - and six grandchildren. "We mourn her passing but celebrate a life lived to the full."
Her own words of wisdom are: "Do what you can and don't stop doing it because it's too big for you. The alternative is to do nothing."