I met Ivan Toms in 1988, a few months before he started to serve a 630-day prison sentence for refusing to serve in the South African Defence Force. He was a gentle and soft-spoken doctor who spent his work days at a clinic in one of the country's poorest squatter camps, Crossroads, just outside Cape Town. Beneath his gentle exterior was a strength of character which drove him to stand up for his principles and take a stand against the prevailing apartheid regime. In his own words: "In South Africa life is full of compromises...I am making the one choice I have as a white South African - I can choose prison rather than be a part of the South African Defence Force." I was privileged to spend a few weeks with Ivan as he prepared himself for his prison term.
Ivan died of meningitis in March 2008