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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 26 February 2009
Tracy Warnes
Tracy Warnes
‘Working as an observer in Angola, Tracy became accustomed to sound of gunfire’

WHEN Tracy Warnes, who died this week aged 64, took a job as a teenager in a Parisian toy factory she had hoped to immerse herself in French culture and learn the language.
But she became involved in an industrial dispute and persuaded her fellow workers that a walk-out was in order.
Her actions as an
18-year-old laid the ground for a lifetime of political activism.
Working for Amnesty International, she ran training courses in both Africa and Asia, including a stint in a diamond-polishing centre in Tanzania where she helped organise workers so they manage state-run factories.
But it was her time as an observer in Angola in the 1970s that saw her caught up in the middle of the country’s violent civil war.
She had been working for the Trades Union Congress in Bloomsbury. It was here she met her lifelong partner, the former Labour councillor Peter Brayshaw, and the two of them headed to the southern African country to work for the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) – a popular left wing group.
In 1975, on the eve of Angola’s independence from Portugal, Tracy and Peter were staying in a motel with families of members of the MPLA near the capital Luanda.
But other groups of armed guerillas,
including the infamous Unita faction, were
trying to take control
of the country and laid siege to the motel.
They soon learnt to recognise the sound of gunfire aimed at their rooms, and gunfire from their comrades defending the building. She even stored a grenade in her room so she could blow herself and any potential attackers up if the end came.
She would later lead campaigns to bring Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the ultra-violent Unita group, to justice for war crimes committed in the country.
She continued to work for Amnesty, the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and fought against government plans to scrap industrial training.
She was also involved in Camden politics. She worked on the tenants association at her home in Curnock Street, Camden Town, and although never a member of the Labour Party she canvassed for Labour councillors and MP Frank Dobson.
Her funeral is on Wednesday March 4 at Golders Green Crematorium at 12.30pm.

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