David Joseph Webster was born in Zimbabwe in 1945. He studied at Rhodes University in Grahamstown where he became involved in politics. He later went on to teach Anthropology at Wits university. He was assassinated on 1 May 1989.
Webster was a founding member of the Detainees' Parents' Support Committee (DPSC) in 1981, this committee supported those who were held without trial. He was also a founder member of the Five Freedoms Forum, and a committed comrade in the United Democratic Front. Webster was also an active member of the Orlando Pirates supporters' club and he assisted in the mobilisation and organisation of South African musicians during the Struggle in the 1980s.
He also served as a long-term ethnographic researcher and his work near the Mozambican border resulted in a number of academic articles.
Webster was assassinated on 1 May 1989 outside his house in Johannesburg by Ferdi Barnard who was instructed by apartheid security forces. The hit squad was paid R40,000 for his murder. Barnard was later tried and found guilty in 1998; he was sentenced to two life terms.
The house where Webster lived with his partner Maggie Friedman has been declared a heritage site. On the site of his assassination outside David Webster House, is a mosaic that includes the words:
"Assassinated here for his fight against apartheid. Lived for justice, peace and friendship".
In 1992, the University of the Witwatersrand named a building The David Webster Hall of Residence.
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