ANC veteran and father of journalist Karima Brown, Achmat Semaar, passed away at the age of 72 on Monday.
Western Cape ANC spokesperson Dennis Cruywagen announced Semaar's passing in a statement on Monday night.
"It is with great sadness that we wish to announce the passing of one of our most dedicated, respected and loved members," Cruywagen said.
"A father of six children and grandfather to 14, he was an activist for most of his life and never lived far from or stopped caring and fighting for the ordinary people."
Brown said: "My father was an activist all his life. He was always involved with ordinary people. He was a father to many and was incredible. If he did not work for the ANC he would have died."
In saluting Semaar, ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said: "Achmat Semaar was a giant in Mitchells Plain. He made an impact on so many lives and was a father to hundreds of young people who were persecuted, arrested, tortured or hunted by the apartheid state.
"In the time known as the struggle, he was a beacon of light, a voice that comforted and brought help. He made it his business to care for detainees and their families and made sure that they were not forgotten. Truly he was one of our greatest sons."
Cruywagen told News24 on Tuesday that Semaar was one of the greatest unsung heroes of the struggle against apartheid.
"The ANC will consult the Semaar family about a memorial service for this great servant of the people," he said.