Jamaica, Zambia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, South Africa
1963-1964, 1964-1967, 1978-1980, 1987, 1989-1991, 1994-1996, 1996-2000
The word solidarity acts a thread throughout David Beer’s life. A deep sense of justice has informed many of his decisions and life directions—from his volunteer time with the Canadian Volunteering Commonwealth Service (a precursor to CUSO) to his work to raise funds for the families of South African political prisoners. David’s experiences in rapidly changing southern Africa in the 60s and 70s, both as a CUSO volunteer and staff, helped to shape Canada’s response to the oppressive and deadly tactics being used by apartheid leaders. “As volunteers and staff, we knew what was really happening. We saw the effects of the bombings in Lusaka, and South African attacks in Zambia’s Western Province to suppress political movements,” says David. The organization and David were regularly called upon by Canadian foreign officials to give briefings of what was happening on the ground.
David was also passionate about involving more Canadians in the struggle for justice. As part of his work with the International Defence and Aid Fund for South Africa (IDAFSA), David brought former political prisoners to Canada so they could tell their stories personally to groups across the country.
“This work became part of my consciousness that I’ve carried with me throughout my life.”