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Brutus used sports to fight apartheid

Poet encouraged, led others to use sports to end oppression in South Africa

Updated: December 31, 2009, 2:45 PM ET
By Richard Lapchick | ESPN.com

Dennis Brutus died in his sleep Saturday in Cape Town, South Africa, at age 85. Between the early 1960s and the end of apartheid in South Africa, the architects of that most racist regime rarely slept, due to the force of major activists such as Brutus.

He was a renowned poet, but I knew Dennis as a freedom fighter who used sport as his weapon. In the course of our first meeting 40 years ago, Dennis Brutus changed my life.

Before Muhammad Ali had to fight for ...

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