Suzanne Belling, former JTA correspondent and South African Jewish leader, dies at 72


(JTA) — Suzanne Belling, a former Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent and longtime writer and editor for Jewish publications in South Africa, has died.

Belling died Nov. 12 in Pretoria. She was 72.

Raised in Cape Town, Belling’s interest in journalism began in high school, when she wrote a column for the Cape Times. She later became an intern at the paper.

She later became the Cape Town correspondent and regional editor for the South Africa Jewish Times. In 1994, she moved to Johannesburg to become the newspaper’s editor.

Belling was also a regular contributor to JTA between 1997 and 2013, and was the founding editor of the Johannesburg Jewish Voice.

Belling went on to occupy a series of professional and lay positions within the South Africa Jewish community, serving as executive director of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies for six years.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Nov. 13, the board recalled Belling’s leadership during the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. The conference devolved into a frenzied battle over whether to censure Israel in the final declaration, prompting both Israel and the United States to leave in protest.

“As well as her writing and organizational skills, Suzanne had great social skills and a compassionate heart and was involved in every aspect of the board’s work,” the statement said. “She took a special interest in the Jews in remote country districts and initiated regular visits to country communities.”

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