DEVOTED: Zackie Achmat devoted his life to fighting injustice and oppression. CREDIT: File Photo

Zackie, whose full name is Abdurrazak Achmat, will be awarded an honorary doctorate, the LLD honoris causa, by the University of Cape Town (UCT) at a graduation ceremony on Friday 14 July.

The former Mitchells Plain resident is particularly well-known for his work with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) fighting for free anti-retroviral medication for Aids sufferers.

He has devoted his life to fighting injustice and oppression.

In 1977, at the tender age of 15, he was detained by the security police for 14 days.

He was a member of the ANC underground and UDF structures, taking a leading role for a period in the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC.

He co-founded (and later directed) the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE).

In 1995, Zackie and his colleagues secured an interdict preventing police harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation.

This was later followed by the decriminalisation of gay sex; ensuring that same-sex couples were not discriminated against in their access to medical aid and pension benefits, or denied rights to permanent residence.

“Zackie Achmat’s life has been devoted to the struggle for the building of a new social order based on dignity, equality and non-racism. He is indeed a worthy recipient of this honour,” says Professor Hugh Corder, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Innovation at UCT.