Monday, January 7, 2019

NON-RACIAL AND DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA IN 2019 by SUBRY GOVENDER

The ruling ANC is busy finalising its list of 200 members for national parliament. The ANC leaders have met in Durban over the past few days and have announced that the list would only be released at the end of this month. The list will come into operation after the national general elections scheduled for some time in May. The spokespersons for the ANC have emphasised that while they will be choosing members who have clean records and are corrupt-free, they will also be taking into account the demographics of the country. The spokespersons have also emphasised the ANC’s commitment to a free, non-racial and democratic society. The ANC’s selection of its 200 list members for national parliament has taken place at a time when the ruling party is busy preparing for its all-important rally at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday (12) to release its January 8 statement. While the ruling party talks of taking into account demographics and committing to the values and principles of non-racial and democracy, there are still many people in society who are concerned about the increasing tendencies of racial hatred that has currently gripped our country and the violent crime rate that has forced people to live like hostages in their own homes. “There is no future for our grand-children” has become the common expression by many people. This kind of fear has no place in our society but it is a reality. It goes against the sacrifices made by our leaders during the struggles against white minority rule and domination.
(Dr Farouk Meer with other struggle stalwarts - Thumba Pillay and Professor Jerry Coovada) In 2008 when the ANC was preparing for its crucial national elective conference in Polokwane, I had compiled this radio documentary about the need for a true non-racial and democratic society in order to assure the people that they would not be deserted. I included in the report interviews with the former secretary of the now-disbanded Natal Indian Congress, Dr Farouk Meer, and political activist, Yunus Carrim, about the importance of a non-racial and democratic society.
(Yunus Carrim who is now an ANC member of Parliament.) This radio documentary is being re-published in order to inform people about the invaluable roles played by our struggle stalwarts for a race-free, safe and democratic future.
I sincerely hope that it will provide some information to all people of the contributions made by progressive leaders and organisations such as the Natal Indian Congress and the United Democratic Front.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

VASANTHA PHYLLIS RUTH NAIDOO (NEE DAVID) - GIANT OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLES – REMEMBERED ON JANUARY 5 2019 WHEN SHE WOULD HAVE TURNED 91 - PART THREE DELIVERING HER SPEECH AT THE FORMER UNIVERSITY OF DURBAN-WESTVILLE IN 2007

(PHYLLIS NAIDOO WITH HER TWO SON, SADHAN AND SHA, AND DAUGHTER, SAKTHIE) PHYLLIS NAIDOO PULLS NO PUNCHES WHEN SHE ADDRESSES A FUNCTION AT THE FORMER UNIVERSITY OF DURBAN-WESTVILLE WHEN SHE WAS BESTOWED WITH A HONORARY DOCTORATE IN LAW IN 2007 Today, on the 5th of January 2019, one of the giants in the struggles for a free and non-racial South Africa, Vasanatha Phyllis Ruth Naidoo (nee David), would have turned 91. Known as Phyllis Naidoo, this committed struggle stalwart was born on the 5th of January 1928 to a staunch Catholic family who also had their roots to indentured labourers. After being involved in the struggles for more than 60 years, she passed on, on February 13 2013 at the age 85. As a tribute to this struggle giant, I am re-publishing two articles and a radio documentary on her remarkable life. The first article, which encompasses her life from being a teenage activist, was published in February 2013 after her passing on Feb 13 of that year. The second article was an interview that I had conducted with Phyllis Naidoo at her Umbilo Road flat in Durban in 2005. The radio package was also recorded and broadcast at this time. I also have the pleasure of publishing a speech that Phyllis Naidoo had delivered at the then University of Durban-Westville in 2007 when she was bestowed with a honorary doctorate of law for her invaluable contributions to the liberation struggles. In her speech, she pulled no punches when reminding the people of the sacrifices made by countless activists for the freedom that we enjoy today. She also spoke about the current situation where greed for power and wealth dominates the work of the new politicians and leaders.
(PHYLLIS NAIDOO'S DAD, SIMON DAVID AND MUM) "The greed that characterised apartheid, lives comfortably with us." "Our politics, our struggle has never been about personal wealth. We did not join the struggle to fill up our back pockets nor did Mini refuse the one chance to life so that you could have a bank balance in Switzerland. " Phyllis when receiving an honorary doctorate of law from the then University of Durban-Westville in 1995. This is her acceptance speech. "Why am I here. What did I do to deserve this honour. Did I produce a mind blowing dissertation on Mathsin Goki, Ngiyaki Kilde, Can Themba, and our own Mandla Langa. "I did not so why? "Actually this is a masquerade. When Professor Ramashala offered me this degree for my contribution to whatever I responded by telling her that I had acted as a member of various organisations and that I would accept the award on behalf of those who struggled for democracy and especially those who paid the ultimate price. "She was delighted to do business with me hence my presence here. "Briefly the poverty of my family in which I was nurtured taught me valuable lessons of caring and giving. "My thatha (grand-father) a market gardener after his period of indenture taught me an enduring love of the soil. My dad (Simon David) on a teacher's salary of Four Pounds a month took care took care of ten children, a Catholic wife, grand-parents, and an aunt with five children. "Clearly miracles do not live in the Bible alone. "Fortunately I was also a student at Woodlands High in Pietermaritzburg during the war years when we queued for bread and milk on the black market to have Mr Stead our English master (I notice he's not here), Herbie Govinden was a student with me and he would agree that Mrs Stead broadened our horizon. "My voluntary work at FOSA soon after school taught starkly that the solutions to poverty were not to be found in charity but in politics. "I stand here for the Unity Movement of the early 1950s who I D Thabatha, Goolam Gool, A K Essack opened my mind to the force of apartheid. As a teacher politics was a no go area and our weekly meetings stimulated our discussions. "I stand here as a member of the Natal Indian Congress for Dr Randeree, M D Naidoo, Paul David, George Sewpersadh, Dr Monty Naicker, and Mrs Nagamah Naidoo - a cook at Kapitan;s Cafe who told me her experience as a passive resister in 1946. "The protests against the Ghetto Act sent thousands to prison to show their abhorrence of this Act. The Indian Government took up the issue at the UN thus internationalising the struggle. "The Passive Resistance of 1946 and the Defiance Campaign of 1952 were ommitted. "A letter from Dr Randeree now resident in Canada reminded me of an NIC meeting held at my flat in the 1950s we decided to boycott the tribal bush college at Salisbury Island. Consequently a meeting was arranged at the Tamil Vedic Hall in Carlisle Street (Durban) where after several fighting speeches we sang loudly "Lead Kindly Light" with M B Naidoo and many others. So you see what irony this award is. "We have gone full circle and it has come home to roost. "I stand here on behalf of the Human Rights Commitee formed to take care of the banished people in Natal. This is material for much-needed dissertation and I hope this institution does something about that. "Theo and Mario Kloppenberg, Dr Goonam, Elanor Kassrils were some of the people who worked in this committee. We reached Chief William Sekekunee a month too late. He had died from starvation in this very province and you thought you need it all from the TRC. "I stand here on behalf of late Ernest Gallo, Kalise Sello (he's not late), and others of a non-racial group at Natal University in 1957 who approached the ANC to allow us to operate an ANC branch at the University of Natal. The ANC constitution frowned on us and Joe Mathews and Baba Luthuli told us to go and start another human rights committee. "I stand before you as a proud member of the South African Community Party where the idea of a non-racial South Africa was firmly planted. Here I met commitment and integrity that beg description - Moses Kotane, J B Marx, Ray and Jack Simons, George and Vera Ponnen, Govan Mbeki, Dr Dadoo, Marius Schoon, Bram Fischer, Ester Basle sitting here in front, Ruth Slovo, Joe Slovo and Gerald Freser-Moleketi and many others, you know them all, luminaries in our struggle. "I stand here on behalf of MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) whose oath I never took although I worked in the undergound from 1963 to 1977. Incidentally after taking Moses Mabhida out of hiding to Newcastle on the way out of the country I was ordered to find high blood pressure tablets (I think the doctors have a name for this) for Govan Mbeki. Doctors and friends complained that these tablets were very expensive but we pilfered from hospital surgeries, etc, and we had a good number of tablets these were sent through the late George Naicker to Govan. Back came a reply for more tablets saying a number of his colleagues at Rivonia of course had found great relief. Little wonder they did not kill themselves. "Then on the 11th of July 1963 those of you who know anything will know that's a very precious date when I received a note from Govan saying "the mole is tired of the hole" the arrests in Rivonia took place. "Eh Ronnie what a break. The racist Government had to find the tablets from now on. "I stand here on behalf M K veteran, Joseph Nduli. Joseph was one of the 80 MK soldiers of the Luthuli detachment which crossed into Rhodesia in August 1967. Walking through the forests he and Biyela strayed away from the others. They hid in tall grass surrounded by Rhodesian forces. Biyela impatient, hungry, thirsty lifted his head to check the enemy position. A shot robbed him of his head and Joseph was covered in his blood. Joseph came back to South Africa assisted by ZAPU comrades and got to Johannesburg with a passport and fled to Swaziland. He operated from there until South African agents kidnapped him in 1976. "When the death of Joseph Mdluli (now notice that the one was Joseph Nduli and this is Joseph Mdluli) in detention destroyed the underground routes out of South Africa. Joe and I had to establish new ones. "Shadrack Maphumulo who served a 10-year sentence on Robben Island and was killed in Swaziland in the presence of his children and I charted the road which took Mac Maharaj, Steven Dlamini, Sunny Singh there and so many others via Swaziland. "Working with comrades returning from Robben Island was the most rewarding experience. Their commitment to the struggle was no sacrifice. It was their life. Some had done 10 years and more on Robben Island and were taking work that without a doubt would send them back as indeed it did. Harry Gwala, Mathews Mayiya, Zakele Mdlalose, Anton Xaba, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, and some others. "To work with MK stalwarts like late Justin Khuzwayo, Jacob Zuma, Nduduzi Guma, Poomoney Moodley, Sunny Singh and others was a humbling experience. Joseph Mdluli whom they murdered was a gentle person who attended to comrades who were banished, house-arrested and unemployed. We packed his boot with food and clothes whenever he went around. Two weeks before he was killed he called to find out if I had anything to send with him. At the time we had over 75 persons in detention. Jeff Hadebe, who is now a Minister, will tell you that he was my articled clerk then, said he learnt no law in my office he only packed food for detainees. "But Mdluli counselled patients saying the struggle is long, next time he comes I will have something for him. He never returned. He was killed on the 19th of March 1976. "I stand before you on behalf of those killed in Maputo on the 30th of January 1981, especially my son, Nduguma, and 11 others. On the 9th of December 30 of my comrades and and 12 Basotho were massacred, among them Gazee, Zola and Ginee, then 12 were killed in Gaberone on the 14th of June 1985 and there was Thami Maniyela and my precious son, Mike Kamblan. "I stand here angering for those in the ANC and PAC who were executed. I want to tell you about Vuyisile Mini, who was Woken Kayinja, and Zenatela Mahlaba who were executed on the 6th of November 1964. Mini wore four hats. He was a trade unionist, SADTU, MK, ANC and SACP. The four treatment. Mini refused to give evidence in Wilton Mkwayi's trial and lost the one and only chance to life. How many Minis' crossed your path? any? "His rare integrity is our proud possession. Hamble Gahle Mini. "A word here about the party that wraps its posters around our lamp posts screaming, 'we will bring back the death penalty'. "Their predecessors in 1990 called a moratorium because the death penalty did not solve their problems. "The state cannot tell you that 'thou shall not kill and then process to kill you'. Don't forget also that it is the blacks in the main both here and the USA to have their necks broken. "Is this the sum total of the proud receipients of today's award? No. "The UNHCR and the Human Rights Commission both report that South Africans are zenophobic to a disgusting extent. Notice the term disgusting it's not mine it's theirs. That is an extreme irrational fear of anything or anyone different or foreign. The ghastly killings of three Mozambicans a few months made pariahs of all of us. I think you know the name Quere Quere it should also belong to the never again stable. "Our ghastly treatment of aliens makes a mockery of our call for increased tourism. I want to put this as a proposition to you. We have a ministry for both. It would appear that we despise the poor because the aliens are poor and we suck up to the rich. But think about that. "South Africans need to remember that Samora Machel, erstwhile president of Mozambique, supported not only our struggle but of Zimbabwe as well, incurring the wrath of both Rhodesia and the racists here. Destabilisation was a war in which two million Mozambicans lost their lives and limbs, their economy destroyed and their president and others murdered. They paid heavily so that we might be free. "What Angola did for our liberation begs description. Augustino Neto, President of the newly-independent Angola, said in his inauguration speech: 'We shall never be free until South Africa is free'. "Remember that when you find Angolans (watch my false teeth here) trading anger you our landmines continue to live in Angola and continue to render children lifeless and limbless. Our President was in Russia to thank the then USSR for its mind-boggling solidarity with our struggle. Comrade Vladimia Shupin has written a book which I recommend for your reading. The Organisation for African Unity(OAU) on its shoe string budget supported us. We had assistance from Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, and so many others. The whole of this poor continent came to our help, to our assistanc and gave it with no strings attached. It was the kind of solidarity that beggars description. "India rendered immeasurable assistance to the ANC, poor Caribbean islands helped us, Cuba gave her sons and daughters to our struggle, over two thousand Cubans died in Africa so that we might be free. The victory of the Angolan and Cuban forces ensured Namibia's independence and freedom. It was impossible after that to deny ours. Except for Sweden, most Western governments did not support our struggle. They supported the racists with constructive engagment. "It was during this period that the SADF made most of its forays into Angola, destroying its people and landmining most of the country. Be that as it may in the UN, USA, UK, Austria all these places anti-apartheid committees, church, legal, sports and other organisations took our call for boycotts and sanctions. They took care of our detained, their families, they found the money for our trials. They campaigned against the execution of our comrades. Their solidarity was immeasurable. All of them, Toogutsie a Zimbabwean, sang gustily Free Nelson Mandela. "We have our President, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and the others as a result of the role the International Anti-Apartheid Movement played during the Rivonia Trial when we expected the death penalty so you see our zenophobia cannot be maintained. It is not only misplaced, it is criminal. "Malusi, the president of the ANC Youth League complains that South Africans do not feel equally rsponsible for the Reconstruction and Development of our country but are at the forefront of demanding their rights. He speaks of a lack of social responsibility. I wish to add to that phenomenon of entitlement and corruption that has reached alarming proportions. "The greed that characterised apartheid lives comfortably with us. "Albie Sachs in his "Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter" says: 'What has given honour and diginity to our lives was precisely the fact that we chose to combat injustice without thought or even hope of receiving personal benefit. "I know it's difficult when Anglo American announced a profit of 3,7-billion, billion my friends, you will find that in the Mercury of the 26th of March and NEO tries to follow suit a month later. It is shocking to see so many of our trade union leaders now aspiring for personal wealth. "Distinguished guests we tried against the worst possible conditions to establish a democracy, to establish and retain our humanity. We crossed barriers set up by the racists. You saw Oliver Tambo return home after three strokes and his body disabled from hard work. He worked ceaselessly so that you might be free. Those on hunger strikes put their lives on line for what we have today. "Pixie Benjamin hurt her body and died after a hunger strike. Mini refused to dignify the request of the racists and went singing to his death. "Promise that you will never let the 6th of November pass you without remembering Mini. "Wits has honoured David Webster. I want to ask you to claim Mini for UDW. Some trade unions have not forgotten him. So work with them, use some of the SRC funds you spend and give for the occasion. He gave you his life. I promise you your sense of social responsibility will improve. "Lastly I stand here on behalf of my amazing sons, Sadhan who was assassinated in Lusaka. All he wanted to do was to feed the people of South Africa. Sha my second son lost his life through a medical accident... his short life was spent in the struggle. I want to thank my family whose support throughout this period was extremely generous. I want you know that as a family hurt by the Group Areas Act they refused to claim against the new democracy. I am very proud of them. Thank you. ........ when Gandhi was incarcerated in the Old Fort he found that African prisoners were denied salt in their food. Gandhi refused to eat his salted food. "We should say with equal empathy that the disgrace of the squatter camps around here has no place in our society that we will not rest until the Jondolos are replaced with proper homes. Do I have a yes on that one.............. . "A better life for all is our slogan, not a better life for any ethnic minority, not a better life for you or certainly not for me but for all South Africans. "Thank you for bestowing this honour on all those who sacrificed their lives for our liberation........ . " Ladies and gentlemen................ Dr Vasantha Phyllis Ruth Naidoo.

VASANTHA PHYLLIS RUTH NAIDOO (NEE DAVID) - GIANT OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLES – REMEMBERED ON JANUARY 5 2019 WHEN SHE WOULD HAVE TURNED 91

SECOND ARTICLE AND RADIO PACKAGE ON THE LIFE OF PHYLLIS NAIDOO PHYLLIS NAIDOO ON HER DESIRE TO TELL THE STORIES OF THOSE WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES AFTER SHE RETURNED TO THE COUNTRY IN THE EARLY 1990S


BY SUBRY GOVENDER Today, on the 5th of January 2019, one of the giants in the struggles for a free and non-racial South Africa, Vasanatha Phyllis Ruth Naidoo (nee David), would have turned 91. Known as Phyllis Naidoo, this committed struggle stalwart was born on the 5th of January 1928 to a staunch Catholic family who also had their roots to indentured labourers. After being involved in the struggles for more than 60 years, she passed on, on February 13 2013 at the age 85. As a tribute to this struggle giant, I am re-publishing the interview that I had conducted with Phyllis Naidoo at her Umbilo Road flat in Durban in 2005. The radio package was also recorded and broadcast at this time.
(PHYLLIS NAIDOO WITH PAUL DAVID, ARCHIE GUMEDE AND HER DAUGHTER, SAKTHIE) "I have a great urge to tell, especially the children the contributions, what people did to get us where we are today." At 78 and after more than 60 years of being actively involved in the political struggles, one would expect Phyllis Naidoo to take it easy, relax and take time to enjoy the new democracy and freedom. Not Phyllis Naidoo. She has no time for such luxuries. Her small, neat one-room flat in the Umbilo Road of central Durban is full of books; the walls are adorned with photographs and posters - all relating to the political struggles. Portrait pictures of leaders such as Joe Slovo, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, and Chris Hani are prominently displayed. There are two small desks in the room and they are neatly packed with struggle documents, a computer and a fax machine In one section of the room there are two rows of 156 folders – containing information about the 156 struggle stalwarts who appeared in the 1956 Treason Trial. Naidoo wants to complete the profiles on the 156 leaders in time for the 50th anniversary of the Treason Trial next year. She said: "I'm looking at the profiles of the 156 to see who they were, what they are doing, are they alive. I think about 80 percent of them are dead. But I still want to know about them. What moved them to do anything because a lot of our people were very poor you know." The project on the treason trialists is her fourth literary contribution to the history of the struggles. Her previous works included, Waiting to Die in Pretoria, an account of prisoners on death row which was published in 1990; Le Rona Re Batho: An account of the 1982 Maseru Massacre - which she published in 1992; and Footprints in Grey Street - her tribute to a number of political activists who used the Grey Street area of Durban as their base. This book was published in 2002. Naidoo also published in 2003 - Doc's Files - a collection of banned and restricted people that the late activist, Doc Docrat, had compiled during his long years of house arrest and restriction. Phyllis Naidoo wants the young people of today to read and learn about the stalwarts of the struggle because the pain and suffering of the thousands of activists should not be forgotten. Phyllis Naidoo, the eldest daughter of a disciplinarian school principal, Simon David, joined the ANC after at first being drawn into the struggles as a member of the former Non-European Unity Movement. While assisting jailed political activists and their families, she came under the watchful eye of the security police in the early 1960s. She was banned and restricted between 1966 and 1976 - at a time when she was trying to cope with life as a single mother after her husband, M D Naidoo, was sentenced to Robben Island for ANC activities. Phyllis Naidoo went into exile in 1977 after the then security police made life too difficult for her to endure. She went to Lesotho but there too she was hounded and was seriously injured when she unknowingly opened a parcel bomb that was sent by the security police. In 1983 she was forced to flee Lesotho and move to Zimbabwe. During this period her son, Sadhan, was killed by agents of the apartheid regime while he was managing an ANC farm in Zambia. Then after she returned from exile in the 1990s, her second son, Sha, died from a stomach ailment. Her former husband, M D Naidoo, also died during this period. Despite all her trauma, Phyllis Naidoo is not despondent. She believes the ANC Government is on the right path even though there's a great deal of work still to be done to overcome the twin evils of poverty and unemployment. She said: "All the people that I know in power and that belong to the ANC are good people. I mean I can't think of anyone who has not made the most supreme sacrifices in their lives. I can't believe that they would be cottoned on to the present seductive president that we have. We didn't struggle so that trust funds could be set up for one's own children. We were about everybody's children. I know that it's very difficult to sustain in this period but I still believe that we could continue to do those things." A committed atheist, she wants to continue to write about the struggles till she breathes her last. Ends – subrygovender@gmail.com

VASANTHA PHYLLIS RUTH NAIDOO (NEE DAVID) - GIANT OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLES – REMEMBERED ON JANUARY 5 2019 WHEN SHE WOULD HAVE TURNED 91

(BY SUBRY GOVENDER) Today, on the 5th of January 2019, one of the giants in the struggles for a free and non-racial South Africa, Vasanatha Phyllis Ruth Naidoo (nee David), would have turned 91. Known as Phyllis Naidoo, this committed struggle stalwart was born on the 5th of January 1928 to a staunch Catholic family who also had their roots to indentured labourers. After being involved in the struggles for more than 60 years, she passed on, on February 13 2013 at the age 85. As a tribute to this struggle giant, I am re-publishing two articles and a radio documentary on her remarkable life. The first article, which encompasses her life from being a teenage activist, was published in February 2013 after her passing on Feb 13 of that year. The second article was an interview that I had conducted with Phyllis Naidoo at her Umbilo Road flat in Durban in 2005. The radio package was also recorded and broadcast at this time. I also have the pleasure of publishing a speech that Phyllis Naidoo had delivered at the then University of Durban-Westville in 2007 when she was bestowed with a honorary doctorate of law for her invaluable contributions to the liberation struggles. In her speech, she pulled no punches when reminding the people of the sacrifices made by countless activists for the freedom that we enjoy today. She also spoke about the current situation where greed for power and wealth dominates the work of the new politicians and leaders.
(PHYLLIS NAIDOO'S DAD, SIMON DAVID, MUM, AND HER SIBLINGS, INCLUDING PAUL DEVADAS DAVID) ACTIVISTS ATTEND MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR PHYLLIS NAIDOO A wide array of former political activists attended the memorial service for one of the country's most formidable comrades, Phyllis Naidoo, at The Parish of St Aidan in Durban on Saturday (Feb 16 2013) afternoon. Phyllis died three days earlier on the morning of February 13 at the local Albert Luthuli Hospital at the age of 85. Some of the activists who turned up for the service included Mr Swaminathan Gounden, who is 86-year-old; Mr Kay Moonsamy, who is also in his 80s; Ms Ela Gandhi; Mr Sunny Singh; Dr Dilly Naidoo and his wife; Mr Tito Mboweni, former Reserve Bank Governor; Dr Jerry Coovadia and his wife, Zubie; Mr Coastal Govender; and Dr Farouk Meer. Former struggle photographer, Omar Badsha, came down from Cape Town for the service and author and writer, Dr Deena Padaychee, was also in attendance. Some of the current politicians in Government who also attended included Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of International Affairs; Mr Mac Maharaj, who worked with Phyllis in exile; and Mr Derek Hanekom, Minister of Trade and Industry. Described as a "sound, cohesive force", a number of speakers spoke about Comrade Phyllis's family background; her disciplinarian headmaster father, Mr Simon David and mother, Violet; her early first marriage; her struggles to complete her university degree while working as a nurse; her commitment to the struggle and joining the SACP, ANC, Natal Indian Congress while still a student, her meeting and marriage to M D Naidoo, who was jailed on Robben Island for his SACP work; her struggles to work as lawyer; the opening of her own law practice; the assistance she had given to former Robben Island prisoners, including current President Jacob Zuma; her flight into exile to Lesotho where she was seriously injured after she unknowingly opened a letter bomb; her move to Zimbabwe; the assassination of her son Sadhan by apartheid security agents at an ANC farm in Zambia; the return to South Africa in the early 1990s, the divorce from M D Naidoo; the death of her third son, Sha; the work for the release of death row prisoners; the writing of her books to remember those who played crucial roles in the struggles, ..... the list goes on. It was also revealed at the service that Phyllis was robbed of her first son, Nathan, who was taken away by her first husband to the United States. She never saw this son again and later learned that after the ANC turned down his request to join MK, the young man joined the forces of Charles Taylor in Liberia where he was killed. But despite all the personal tragedies, she was never dispirited and continued to promote the struggles in the new, non-racial and democratic South Africa. The tributes were paid by her family members - only surviving child and daughter, Sukhthi; grand-children Buck and Louis Whaley; and brothers John and Paul David. Paul, who chose not to concentrate on the political side of Phyllis's life in his tribute, observed that Comrade Phyllis was very concerned about the socio-economic transformation of the previously-disadvantaged after the advent of the new South Africa in 1994. She was concerned about, among other things, the wide gap between the haves and have nots, the lack of services, the schooling facilities, proper roads and sporting facilities. At times, he said, she would say: "Maybe we should make a comeback." Her youngest sibling, Benjamin David, a former Verulam High School sportsman and top class cricketer, also paid tribute to his sister by quoting verses from the Bible. Father Michael Lapsley, who lost both his hands in a parcel bomb sent by the apartheid security police to Lesotho, and the Anglican Bishop of KZN and former black consciousness activist Reuben Phillip, also paid special tributes to Comrade Phyllis. Author Dr Betty Govinden penned a special religious tribute to Comrade Phyllis titled "We give thanks for Phyllis's life". The speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, was among a number of people who had worked with Comrade Phyllis, had their messages published in a special memorial booklet. Max Sisulu summed up the sentiments of most people when, among other things, he wrote: "In Phyllis, we have lost a courageous freedom fighter, human rights lawyer, teacher, activist and protector of the vulnerable. As a result of her dedication to the struggle for our people's freedom, and as a disciplined member of the Communist Party and the African National Congress, Phyllis bore the brunt of police harrassment, house arrests, banning and the painful loss of her two sons. "South Africa will forever be indebted to Phyllis and her family for her bravery, courage, leadership and sacrifice in the liberation and transformation of South Africa."

Sunday, December 30, 2018

RADIO DOCUMENTARY ON THE LIFE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST – PADDY KEARNEY – WHO PASSED AWAY RECENTLY ON NOVEMBER 23 (2018) AT THE AGE OF 76

(PADDY KEARNEY (CENTRE) WITH BISHOP EMERITUS RUBIN PHILIP AND STRUGGLE VETERAN, SWAMINATHAN GOUNDEN, AT A FUNCTION HELD FOR THE LATE STRUGGLE STALWART, MEWA RAMGOBIN.) Paddy Kearney, who was born in Pietermaritzburg in August 1942, was one of the activists who worked with churches to promote the struggle against apartheid and the concept of a non-racial and democratic South Africa. Kearney, who was the Director of the Diakonia Council of Churches for 28 years, was one of the “behind the scenes” activists who contributed enormously to the struggles against apartheid and white minority rule. Veteran journalist, Subry Govender, who befriended the social activist since the early 1970s, compiled this radio documentary in 2008 on the life of Kearney. When the interview was conducted, Kearney had just published his book, Guardian of Light, on the life of the late anti-apartheid leader, Catholic Arcbishop of Durban, Denis Hurley. At the time of his death he was chairperson of the Denis Hurley Centre Trust. The struggle activist was bestowed with a memorial service by the provincial KwaZulu-Natal Government at the Durban City Hall on Thursday, November 29. The function was held under the theme: “Celebrating the life and work of Paddy Kearney” and was addressed, among others, by the Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal province – Mr Willie Mchunu – and former Anglican leader and former chairperson of Diakonia, Bishop Emeritus Rubin Philip. This radio package (BY SUBRY GOVENDER )-
is being published on internet as a tribute to Kearney for his self-less contributions to the promotion of a non-racial, just and democratic South Africa.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Dr Kesaval Goonam - a full interview conducted in November 1995

(Dr Kesaval Goonam when she went on her first visit to India) INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY SUBRY GOVENDER

(PHOTOS - COURTESY OF GOONAM'S "COOLIE DOCTOR" AUTOBIOGRAPHY)

Barack Obama on Nelson Mandela