Friday, November 25, 2011

Southside FM Radio - Cultural Evening Sat February 25 2012

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)



The new community radio station, Southside FM Radio, will broadcast from the premises of the Merebank Tamil School Society(MTSS) sometime early in the new year.
A senior official of Southside FM, Mr Balan Gounder, who is also chairperson of the MTSS, said in a statement that the MTSS had decided to make the premises available because Southside FM was seen as an important and vital cultural vehicle for the south Indian-origin community.
"We are currently in the process of sealing off a large office for the construction of the studio and other facilities," said Mr Gounder.
He said in preparation for the launch of the radio station, the Southside Management Committee would hold a major cultural evening at the MTSS on Saturday, February 25 next year.
"At the function we will inform our supporters, sponsors and donors about our progress and the launch plans.
"Important stakeholders have come on board and we are planning the launch to coincide with the Tamil and Telugu New Years in April next year if everything goes according to plan.
"We have been working very hard over the past two years and were granted our radio licence recently. We are happy to report that all our efforts are finally paying off," said Mr Gounder.
He said although Southside FM Radio was a Non-Profit Organisation it would be operated strictly on business lines.
"We would strive to be self-sufficient."
He added: "In addition to providing a channel for the promotion of the social, cultural, traditional, and lingustic needs of the community, the radio station will also act as a beacon and moral voice.
"It will be a progressive voice that will promote morals, values and principles that are sorely lacking generally in South African society today."
He said they were currently in final negotiations with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa(ICASA) about the frequency that they would use. The coverage would include areas in and around Durban, up to Stanger on the north coast, Park Rynie on the south and Pietermaritzburg in the West.
ICASA had granted Southside FM a community licence for five years a few months ago.
"After we launch we will apply to extend our service to Port Shepstone, Ladysmith-Newcastle-Dundee region, Johannesburg-Pretoria area, Cape Town and finally Port Elizabeth-East London."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Indians or not" in South Africa

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)


The position of South Africans of Indian origin came up once again recently when Julius Malema as leader of the ANC Youth League made a derogatory remark against the community while addressing a meeting near Lenasia in Johannesburg.
It's not known what his exact words were when he addressed some residents of Tembalihle but he was reported as saying that their children should also go to school with the children of the "amakulas".
The "amakula" term is generally seen as a swear word in the same vein as "kaffir" and "coolie". These were terms used during the days of apartheid to describe African and Indian people in a disparaging manner.
Malema has since been suspended for five years by an ANC Disciplinary Committee for bringing the ANC into disrepute on issues completely different to the "slur" against people of Indian origin.
He has apologised for making the "amakula" remark and has also held a private discussion with the South African Minority Equality Movement in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, November 15. He issued another apology during this meeting.
The SAMEM had laid a charge against Malema and the two groups had met in an attempt to resolve the matter.
The Malema "slur" follows in the wake of a statement by Chief Government spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, that "Indian" people work their way to the top through what he implied "bribery and other malpractices".
The latest development around Malema also comes at a time when many young people of Indian origin have complained of being marginalised in semi-state industrial institutions such as Escom and Transnet. Many of them have stated that because of the policy of "affirmative action" and demographics they are being discriminated and robbed of being selected for jobs in government departments and semi-state institutions.
The tragedy of the debate around Malema now is that the print and electronic media, especially radio, have reported about the controversy without really identifying who are South Africans and who are "Indians".
The national radio station, SAFM, for instance repeatedly used the word "Indians" in its reports and then in what was seen as a rectification, on a few occasions on Wednesday, November 16 referred to the community as "people of Indian origin". But sadly the news reader in later bulletins once again used the term "Indians".
The first reaction of those who participated in the struggles against apartheid and oppression is that it seems that certain members of the media have failed to play a developmental and educational role even 17 years after the advent of our new non-racial democracy. There seems to be very little political awareness among some journalists and news readers of the political background and the new non-racial situation.
It must be pointed out that more than 150 years after the arrival of Indian indentured labourers to South Africa in 1860, their descendants are now an integral part of the new South Africa and are not "Indians". While they strongly and proudly practice and promote their cultures, traditions, languages and religions, they are South Africans first and foremost who should be described as people of "Indian origin".
They are not "Indians". Indians are in India and those Indians who are in South Africa are Indian nationals who are here on business or contracted to work on special visas. They came to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990 and after India and South Africa formally established diplomatic links in the aftermath of the election of our new non-racial government.
After contributing and sacrificing significantly to the creation of our new non-racial and democratic South Africa, no community, let alone people of "Indian origin", should be made to feel that they are "outsiders".
Statements by the likes of the Malemas and the Jimmy Manyis were responsible for genocides in many countries around the world, including Rwanda, where more than a million people were slaughtered in the civil war between the Hutus and the Tsutsis.
There was also turmoil in Uganda where Idi Amin conducted a war of terror against "Indians" and was responsible for the flight of Ugandan "Indians" to England, Canada, United States and other parts of the world.
The likes of the Malemas and Jimmy Manyis must understand (they say that they are politically mature and aware) that people of "Indian" origin, like other citizens, are full South Africans and should be accorded, according to our new non-racial and democratic constitution, full rights without any special privileges.
They are not "Indians". Indians are in India. ends -
(Marimuthu Subramoney (aka Subry Govender) is a retired radio and print journalist who is now spearheading the launch of the community radio station, Southside FM Radio.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cleaning our streets and suburbs must be our contribution in averting climate change catastrophe

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)



Durban is being spruced up once again. This time it is to ensure that the city and its surrounding areas look neat and tidy when delegates from around the world descend for the Cop17 Climate conference in three weeks time.

Municipal workers and contractors are busy along the coast - especially in and around the city, along the M4 towards Umhlanga, Umdloti, Umhlali, Ballito and other areas on the North Coast. A similar situation prevails on the south coast.

What a pleasing scene to see our highways, coastal roads and suburbs like Umhlanga Rocks clean and tidy?

But what about areas like Tongaat, Verulam, Phoenix, Ottawa, Waterloo, Hambanathi, Gwala's Farm, Umbhayi, Sea Tides, and La Mercy. Municipal workers are seen picking up litter and other garbage but whether they do their jobs properly is another matter altogether.

And the tragedy that has become part of our daily lives is that the residents of our different suburbs and those who descend on towns like Tongaat, Verulam and Shakaskraal don't have or have very little pride in the environment. We tend to throw our rubbish everywhere without any concern whatsoever.

Passengers in motor vehicles and taxis also throw beer cans, coke tins, alcohol containers, empty chips packets and other wrappings into the streets and on the roads. They too have very little appreciation of the environment.

Then we have huge industries that pollute our atmosphere. The people of the south Durban region will attest to the dangers of this pollution to the environment.

We also have people who visit our beaches for a day out also throwing their left overs without any thought of the environmental damage they cause.

Organisations such as the Keep Tongaat Beautiful Association and its Verulam equivalent try to promote the protection of the environment but it seems they are fighting a losing battle.

It's hoped that all the tamasha during the Cop 17 climate conference will generate some interest in us to clean and protect our environment.

The Minister of International Relations, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in preparing for the Durban conference has told role players around the world that protecting the environment was one of the ways in which climatic change could be tackled.

It's hoped that the Minister and her Government have put in place plans to educate and mobilise our people about the catastrophic impacts of climate change and why it's necessary for us to ensure that our suburbs, streets, CBDs and roads are free of litter, rubbish and other thrash.

It's only through educational measures that we will be able to protect our environment and avert the certain climate change catastrophe.

If we want to save Tomorrow for our children then we must start Today.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SOUTHSIDE FM RADIO ON THE MARCH

SOUTHSIDE FM RADIO STATION
--------------------------------------------------------

INTRO : November 2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the arrival of our forefathers from India to work on the sugar plantations of the then Natal. They were recruited as indentured labourers and had to work as semi-slaves in order to make a home for themselves and their children in South Africa.
Most of the arrivals were from South India - especially Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Despite their hardships, they kept alive their rich cultures, languages and traditions.
Today, the descendants of these indentured labourers make up more than 54 percent of the more than 1,3-million people of Indian origin in South Africa.

PROGRESS : Most of the descendants of indentured labourers have through their own fortitude and determination made tremendous strides over the past 150 years. They have migrated from the sugar plantations to urban centres of towns and cities all over the country.
Many people have become professionals, business people and are in all types of trades.

SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT : The descendants of indentured labourers have also made significant contributions to the social, sporting, economic, educational and political struggles over the past 150 years.
The names of Dr Monty Naicker, Dr Kesaval Goonum, Billy Nair and countless others spring to mind.
And when in 1994 South Africa attained its political freedom, Indian-origin South Africans also celebrated the establishment of the new non-racial democracy.

POST 1994 : While the Government has done a lot to allow the country's cultural groups to promote their cultures and languages, we in the south Indian-origin community have not taken advantage of this.
In this regard we have relied too much on Lotus FM but this station treats the south Indian-origin community with contempt. They believe that they are doing us a favour by playing Tamil and Telugu music and songs.

NEED FOR A SOUTH INDIAN RADIO STATION: Sixteen years into our new South Africa, there's a dire need for a South Indian Radio station, especially at a time when we have observed the 150th anniversary of the arrival of our forefathers and mothers from India as indentured labourers.
There are more than 550 000 people who could trace their ancestory to South India. Although a good number of people have converted to Christianity, their home language or mother tongue nevertheless still remains Tamil or Telugu.
This is a big population that a South Indian radio station could serve.

PROPOSAL : The South Indian radio station could eventually be national in character to serve people especially in KZN, Gauteng, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

The headquarters of the station could be Durban. The Merebank Tamil School Society(MTSS) in Durban has agreed to provide us with premises to braodcast from.

FUNDING : We have registered as a non-profit organisation to be responsible for the Radio Station. Role players within the Tamil and Telugu communities, societies, business people and individuals have already started contributing to the launch of the radio station. The South African Tamil Federation has already made a donation of R55 000. The SATF has promised us more money as we progress.

PROGRAMMES : The South Indian Radio station will be a fully fledged radio station - providing music, news, current affairs and talk shows with special emphasis to developments within the South Indian-origin community - Tamil and Telugu.

PERSONNEL : The station will be run by a manager and staff - who will be made up mainly of free-lance presenters and cadet reporters. The station will be run by a Management Committee. This committee currently comprises: Mr Subry Govender (chairperson); Mrs Thirupurasundrie Govender (secretary); Ms Keresha Govender (treasurer); Mr Balan Gounder, Mr Swaminathan Gounden, Mr Richard Naidoo, Mr Bala Naidoo (KZN Tamil Federation); Mr Morgan Nadasen (Tamil Business Forum); Mr Micky Chetty (SATF). Others Mr Sagie Naidoo and Mr Richard Govender.


INITIATOR : Subry Govender, who retired from the SABC two years ago, has worked very hard along with his Management Committee members over the past two years to register Southside FM Radio as a NPO (089 - 426) and to obtain the radio licence. We are currently negotiating to finalise our frequency.




BUSINESS PLAN
---------------------------------------



Business Name : Southside FM Non-Profit Organisation
--------------------------

NPO Number : 080 - 774


Physical Address : MTSS
---------------------------- Durban


Postal Address : P.O. Box 486
------------------------- Verulam 4340

Tel : 031 - 568 1309

Cell : 082 376 9053

Email : ptsa@global.co.za


Name of Members
-------------------------------

1. Mr Marimuthu Subramoney
Address : 49 Bellamont Gardens, 91 Bellamont Road, Umdloti, 4350

Identity Number : 461215 5020 08 2
Tel : (031 - 568 1309)
Cell : 082 376 9053
Initiator of Project and Chairman
Veteran Journalist

2. Mr Swaminathan Gounden
Address : 58 Pastoral Road Asherville Durban 4091
Identity Number : 2712165074087
Tel : 031 - 2080292
Cell :
Former Anti-apartheid activist

3. Mr Balan Govender
Address : 107 Hawaan View
88 Lagoon Drive
Umhlanga Rocks 4319
Idenity Number : 3104295048083
Tel : 031 - 5612696
Cell : 083 532 5126
Cultural leader
Chairman of the Merebank Tamil School Society

4. Mrs Thirupurisundri Govender
Address : 46 Dickens Road, Bellair, Queensburgh, Durban.
Identity Number : 7102170120080
Tel :
Cell : 084 449 1033
Tamil School teacher and Secretary

5. Ms Kalaivani Keresha Govender
Address: 74 Watsonia Drive
Watsonia
4399
ID No : 8104240186082
Tel : 032 - 9444023
Cell : 079 493 0603
email : kereshag@yahoo.com
Cultural leader and Talent Acquisition Practitioner

6. Venketas Adiah Naidoo
aka Richard Naidoo
Address : 62 Tyger Avenue
Greenwood Park
Durban 4051
ID No : 480608 5027 080
Tel : 031 - 573 2758
Cell : 082 554 0530
email : van@iafrica.com
Council member of the Andhra Maha Sabha of South Africa
Community and Cultural leader

7. Mr Bala Naidoo
Deputy President
KZN Tamil Federation

8. Mr Morgan Nadasen
Chairperson
Tamil Business Forum

9. Mr Micky Chetty
President
SA Tamil Federation


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
--------------------------------------
The members of Southside FM Radio Non-Profit Organisation(NPO) decided to
establish a radio station in order to promote the cultural,
traditional, linguistic, social, and religious needs of those South
Africans whose mother tongues are Tamil and Telugu.
We also felt that since 2010 will be the 150th anniversary of the arrival of
our indentures forefathers and mothers from India we have to do
something to recoginise their struggles. Our forefathers were treated
like slaves even though they were brought down to work on the
sugar plantations as indentured labourers.
We strongly believe the Southside FM Radio will be a huge success
because there's a dire need for a radio station to serve the cultural,
linguistic, traditional, social and religious needs of the South
Indian-origin community. According to research, of the more than
1,4-million people of Indian-origin in South Africa, more than
650 000 people have their mother tongues as Tamil and Telugu.
In the course of our interaction with the community regarding
the establishment of such a radio station, we have found that the people
are very very enthusiastic and looking forward to such a station.
The response all over the country has been: "It's long overdue."


THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE
--------------------------------------------------
Southside FM, when granted a community radio licence, will broadcast music, talk shows, dramas, news, and current affairs. The station will operate from 6am to 9pm on weekdays; 6am to 12 mid-night on Saturday; and 6am to 9pm on Sunday. We will be providing a unique product to the target audience - comprising mainly more than 650 000 people who have Tamil and Telugu as their mother tongues.

The radio station will comprise:
i). Editor/Manager
ii). Secretary/Financial Controller
iii). 6 presenters working three hour shifts from 6am to 9pm on weekday.
7 presenters working three hour shifts from 6am to 12 mid-night on
Saturday.
6 presenters on Sunday from 6am to 9pm
iv. Advertising Representative


TECHNOLOGY
--------------------------
We will be using the following equipment for our broadcast pruposes:

i. MIXING DESK - 12 channels(eight of them stereo channels). We could get a RM 100 which costs about R120 000.
ii). TWO good quality mikes. About R2 000 each (R4 000).
iii). FOUR headphones. About R500 each (R2 000)
iv). TWO SPEAKERS OR MONITORS in the studio. About R2000 each (R4000).
v). THREE CD Players (R6 000)
vi). COMPUTER FOR playing music (R6 000) - Compurt
vii). Two office computers (R5 000 each - R10 000)
viii). BIG HARD DRIVE.
ix). PHYSICAL TELEPHONE LINES (HIGH QUALITY)
OR ISDN LINES and UNIT (R40 000).

COMPANY MANAGEMENT
----------------------------------------------
The initiator of this project, Mr Marimuthu Subramoney, has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years. During the dark days of apartheid, Mr Subramoney, who is also known as Subry Govender, kept the outside world informed about the struggles of the people through his reports to BBC, Radio Nederlands, Radio Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, American Public Radio, Pacifica National News in Washington, WHUR News in Washington, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Zimbabwean Broadcastin Corporation, Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He joined the SABC in June 1994 and retired after 15 years in October 2009. He has tremendous knowledge of the workings of a radio station and will use his immense experience and knowledge to run the station.He will train presenters and reporters. He will also train marketing people and advertisement representatives to make the station a success.


THE MARKET
------------------------
Our target audience is all people within the South Indian-origin community and others who care to listen. According to various research and analysis, there are more than 650 000 people in South Africa who can trace their mother tongues to Tamil and Telugu. This is a huge market.
A significant percentage of the people have become professionals and business entrepreneurs. We believe that we will be able to tap on this market for advertisements to make our radio station self-sufficient.


SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
------------------------------------------------------------
Southside FM Radio, being a community radio, will employ a sales representative who will sell advertisements to any prospective business or business person seeking the market we are going to cater for.
We will make the advertising price competitive so that we will be able to retain the advertisers over a long term period.

BUSINESS PLAN
-----------------------------
Southside FM Radio, based in Durban, will cover the Durban Metro region, the north coast, south coast, Pietermaritzburg region and the northern Natal area of KwaZulu-Natal. The initiators of the station also have plans to broadcast to the Johannesburg-Pretoria region; the Port Elizabeth area; and Cape Town.
The initiators hope to reach a significant percentage of the more than 650 000 people who have Tamil and Telugu as their mother tongue.

STAFF
------------
1. Manager/Editor
2. Telephonist/Secretary
3. Assistant/Financial Controller
4. Advertising Representative
5. Weekday 5 Free-lance
presenters - 6am to 9am
9am to 12pm
12pm to 3pm
3pm to 6pm
6pm to 9pm

4. Saturday 6 Free-Lance
presenters - 6am to 9am
9am to 12pm
12pm to 3pm
3pm to 6pm
6pm to 9pm
9pm to 12

5. Sunday 5 Free-lance
presenters - 6am to 9am
9am to 12pm
12pm to 3pm
3pm to 6pm
6pm to 9pm

EQUIPMENT
---------------------
The following equipment is needed for broadcast purposes:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. MIXING DESK - 12 channels(eight of them stereo channels). We could get a RM 100 which costs about R120 000.
2. TWO good quality mikes. About R2 000 each (R4 000).
3. FOUR headphones. About R500 each (R2 000)
4. TWO SPEAKERS OR MONITORS in the studio. About R2000 each (R4000).
5. THREE CD Players (R6 000)
6. COMPUTER FOR playing music (R6 000) - Compurt
7. Two office computers (R5 000 each - R10 000)

BIG HARD DRIVE.
8. PHYSICAL TELEPHONE LINES (HIGH QUALITY)
OR
ISDN LINES and UNIT (R40 000).

Approx Total R190 000
===========
Licence Registration 10 000
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R2000 - 00
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MONTHLY RUNNING EXPENSES:
----------------------------------------------------------
1. Rental R2 000 - 00 (pm)
2. Telephone R10 000 - 00 (pm)
3. Office Expenses R 3 000 - 00(pm)
4. Electricity R 5 000 - 00(pm)
5. Office Secretary
Retainer R1 000 - 00(pm)
6. Assistant/Accountant R1 000 - 00(pm)
7. Free-lance
Presenters Subsistence
allowance 5 weekday R5 000 - 00(pm)
8. Saturday - 6 Retainers 600 - 00(pm)
9. Sunday - 5 retainers 500 - 00(pm)
10. Fuel Allowance R5 000 - 00(pm)
11. ICASA Licence Fee 10 000 - 00(pm)
12. SENTECH FREQUENCY FEE 20 000 - 00(PM)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total R63 500 - 00
PLUS incidental expenses 36 500 - 00
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
R100 000 - 00
========================================================

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE
----------------------------------------------------------
The advertising representative will work on a commission basis. The percentage will have to mutually agreed upon with the person we appoint.

INITIAL EXPENSES
----------------------------------
1. Equipment R 200 000
2. Office Furniture R 5 300

---------------------------------------------------------
Total R325 300
============================

The expenses, therefore, will be:
1. Initial expenses R335 000
2. Monthly expenses 100 000
3. Advertising
and promotional
expenses 50 000-00
=================================
R485 000-00
==================================

FUNDING
----------------
In addition to the funding we will raise ourselves, we will apply to the Development Media Agency for funding to meet our costs. This can only be done once we are established as a NPO.

CONTENTS
----------------------
The contents and programmes of the radio station must be devised after consultations with all role players from the Telugu and Tamil communities. For example - the programme content could include in addition to music, news and current affairs - talks shows on issues of interest and value to the community; Telugu and Tamil language classes; Telugu and Tamil serials; the values and morals of the two communities; tolerance for fellow humans irrespective of race, class, creed, language, or culture; service to humanity; and a list of other social, cultural and moral issues.

FIXED BUSINESS COSTS
--------------------------------------------



Fixed costs: Amount
Premises rental
R2 000
Salaries/Allowances
20 000
Transportation
5 000
Telephone
2 000
Advertising and promotion
Loan repayments
Insurance
Electricity/ Water
R1 000
Other R20 000
Total:
R50 000


MONTHLY INCOME STATEMENT
-----------------------------------------------------


Income Cash in Expenses Cash out
Advertising sales R60 000 Fixed costs R50 000
Credit sales Variable costs
Total income R60 000 Total expenses R50 000
Profit / loss R10 000


CONCLUSION
-----------------------
The Southside FM Radio, although a Non-Profit Organisation, will aim to be self-sufficient through the sales of advertisement.
In addition to providing a channel for the promotion of the social, cultural, traditional, lingustic and religious needs of the community, the radio station will act as a BEACON and MORAL VOICE.
It will be a progressive force and promote morals, values and principles that are sorely lacking generally in South African society today.


Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)
Chairperson, Southside FM Radio Project
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Racism should not be part of the new non-racial democracy

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The claims of racism and discrimination at the Verulam Testing Ground are of serious concern.
We have highlighted the claims because we firmly believe that in the new non-racial and democratic South Africa no person should be discriminated or abused because of his or her skin colour or because of language, culture, religious and other differences.
Verulam, Tongaat and the North Coast region in general have always been in the forefront of the struggles against racism and apartheid. We were blessed with leaders of the calibre of Billy Nair, Mewa Ramgobin, Ms Ela Gandhi, George Sewpersadh, I C Meer, and scores of others who had contributed in no small measures and sacrificed their families and lives in the struggles for a racist-free society.
They never for one moment would have envisioned a situation where, only 17 years after the attainment of our freedom, that some officials would take it upon themselves to sew seeds of division and hate by displaying racist attitudes and discriminating against their fellow citizens - whatever their colour and their cultural backgrounds.
The sad situation at the Verulam Testing Ground comes at a time when racism has also become the rallying cry for some people who hold responsible positions in public life.
In one of his most recent outbursts, the leader of the ANC Youth League referred to people of Indian origin by the derogatory term "amakula". He subsequently apologised through his spokespersons but this is of no help as the climate of racial hatred has already been ignited.
In another instance, a Durban lawyer, Judge Isaac Madondo, expressed the view that an Indian-origin judge should not be considered for the the KwaZulu-Natal judge president's position because "... we still have things to address: imbalances, all kinds of things which need more insight, which a person who is not (a black) African cannot be privy to".
All the racist talk - from whatever source - is directly in contradiction with our Constitution and principles and values of great leaders such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Dr Monty Naicker and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
In all his many speeches after his release from prison in February 1990, Mandela had always maintained that our new South Africa should be a society where all people were treated equally and with respect and dignity.
In one speech after his election as President in 1994, Mandela said:
"The struggle for democracy has never been a matter pursued by one race, class, religious community or gender among South Africans. In honouring those who fought to see this day arrive, we honour the best sons and daughters of all our people. We can count among them Africans, Coloureds, Whites, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews - all of them united by a common vision of a better life for the people of this country."
The great leader went onto say that in the new political order there shall be no discrimination whatsoever.
Mandela added: "To raise our country and its people from the morass of racism and apartheid will require determination and effort. As a government, the ANC will create a legal framework that will assist, rather than impede, the awesome task of reconstruction and development of our battered society.
"We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.
"This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise."
In the early days after our new dispensation many people of colour complained that they were being marginalised and treated with contempt. They complained that "in the days of apartheid we were not white enough, now we are not black enough". Many people did not take them seriously but it now seems that this is becoming the new order of the day.
It's hoped that officials in public service and those who call themselves leaders will learn from the lives of the Mandelas and not to sow seeds of division and polarise South Africans any further. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Census 2011 must be used to promote equality and not to further divide and polarise South African society

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)


The Census 2011 that is underway is of paramount and vital importance for the continued socio-economic development of our new non-racial and democratic South Africa.
The Census 2011, it is hoped, will provide accurate statistics about population figures, the unemployment situation, the housing backlog, and the state of our health, education and security services.
The Government needs the information so that it could plan for the next 10 years.
But, while this is a necessity and all of us must co-operate fully, there has been some disquieting developments regarding the Census in our areas.
Some residents have reported that they have been visited by Census enumerators who appear not to have been trained properly to carry out their work. These enumerators, mostly very young teenage boys and girls, fail to introduce themselves in a suitable or correct manner and merely ask the householders to fill in the forms. When they face negative responses from the people, the enumerators respond by saying they will leave the forms with the residents and return to collect them another day.
The question that residents are asking is who must fill in the forms - the enumerators or the residents?
We have been informed that enumerators are responsible for asking the questions and filling the forms.
Another point of concern raised by residents is the huge number of questions - 75 in all - that the people must respond to. In many instances - the questions appear to be unnecessary and irrelevant. It's understood that some of the questions are about your personal health and your "bank balance". Of what relevance is this?
Another question is about "race". It's not clear for what reason this question has been included but it seems that race has become an important factor for the post-apartheid Government in our national affairs. It seems that the Government wants to ensure demographic representativity in all areas of life, including government departments, private work places, educational institutions, and the economy.
While it is absolutely necessary to right the wrongs of the past and to promote equality, it's hoped that the obsession with race will not lead to further polarisation and racial discrimination of a different kind. Already many people who consider themselves to be part of the former oppressed allege deliberate marginalisation and discrimination in their work places, especially in parastatals such as Transnet, Escom, SABC and SAA.
Our quest for a prospersous and peaceful non-racial society should not be sacrificed because of our preoccupation with race.
Despite the shortcomings, we need reliable statistics to ensure that our national debate on key national and local issues are conducted in an informed manner.
The new Census must help to build the new South Africa that former President Nelson Mandela talked about in his inaugural speech on May 10 1994.
He said: "We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
"We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.
"We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world. "
Taking into account what former President Mandela had said, it's, therefore, incumbent on all of us to co-operate with Census enumerators so that in the end the Government will be able to use the statistics to promote the well-being of all South Africans - and not to further divide and polarise the country. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 19 1977 recallled - a day when the media in South Africa was crushed

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

At a time when most journalists in South Africa are expressing their serious concerns about the moves by the new rulers to introduce measures to get the media to "toe the line", it is appropriate to recall the day 34 years ago today (October 19 177) when the former apartheid regime carried out the biggest and most extensive crackdown against the Freedom of the Press.
October 19 1977 was the darkest day in the history of journalism in the country when the main black newspapers, World and Weekend World, were banned and ordered to cease publication along with Pro Veritate, a publication of the Christian Institute; and when editors and journalists were either banned, detained or interrogated and had their homes and offices raided and searched.
The action against the media, ordered by the infamous Minister of Justice, Mr Jimmy Kruger, was carried out in conjunction with the banning of 18 anti-apartheid interest groups, civic, student, religious and media organisations; and banning and detention of their leaders and officials. Mr Kruger and the State President at that time, Dr Nico Diederichs, signed the banning proclamations.
With the stroke of a pen, the state had removed two newspapers that had played a crucial role in keeping the people informed.
Mr Kruger just over a month earlier had described black consciousness leader, Steve Biko's death in detention, as "It leaves me cold".
The notorious security police or "special branch" of the time carried out systematic raids against journalists, newspaper offices and other publications in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and other cities and towns around the country.
In Johannesburg, security policemen arrested Mr Percy Qoboza, Editor of the World and Weekend World, at his offices at about mid-day, only a few minutes before he was due to hold a media briefing about the banning of his newspapers. He was taken to the then John Vorster Square police headquarters. Mr Qoboza was subequently issued with a five-year banning order. His deputy and news editor, Aggrey Klaaste, was also detained and locked up.
The Editor of Pro Veritate, Mr Cedric Maysom, was also detained and issued with a banning and restriction order.
The security police in Johannesburg also carried out raids and searches at the homes and offices of other journalists and organisations, such as the Union of Black Journalists(UBJ), which was one of the 18 organisations banned. They also arrested and detained a number of journalists, including Mr Joe Thloloe, who is today the Press Ombudsman.
In East London, the security police raided the offices of the Daily Dispatch and served its editor, Mr Donald Woods, with a five-year banning order; and searched the homes of some of his reporters, including Miss Thenjiwe Mntintso, who later skipped the country to go into exile because of harrassment and intimidation.
In Durban, the security police raided and searched the homes of Mr Dennis Pather, who later became editor of the Daily News and the Sunday Tribune; and this correspondent. They confiscated papers and documents from this correspondent's desk at the Daily News.
When representations were subsequently made to Mr Kruger for the release of the detained journalists, he unapologetically responded by saying that the detentions were not meant to intimidate the Press and that his Government had good reasons to detain the journalists.
The clampdown against the media on October 19 1977 had a ironic twist two weeks later when it was reported that the Government was planning to print postage stamps to celebrate 150 years of Press Freedom in South Africa.
A Durban lawyer who was national chairman of the then Progressive Federal Party, Ray Swart, launched a blistering attack against the National Party Government for talking of Press Freedom at a time when it was conducting one of the most ruthless campaigns to suppress the media.
In an interview on October 28 1977, Mr Swart, a strong critic of the apartheid regime, told this correspondent in a report that was published in the Daily News that he was impressed that the Government should want to commemmorate Press Freedom but he would be more impressed if it gave greater indication of what it considered Press freedom to be.
He had said: "It seems strange that they intend doing this after having just banned three newspapers, incarcerated one editor and banned another. I find it difficult to reconcile the actions of the Government. I suggest the stamps they intend issuing to commemmorate Press freedom should have the faces of Mr Qoboza and Mr Woods."
Of course the Government of the day did not take up Mr Swart's recommendation and despite his, the country and world-wide condemnations of the action against the newspapers, editors and journalists, the state continued with its clampdown and suppression of the media much more forecfully. But despite some of the most stringent regulations and harrassment and intimidation of media practitioners over the next 13 years, most journalists never gave up and used October 19 to continue with the struggles for Press Freedom.
They realised their dream of Press Freedom when the ANC and other organisations were unbanned and when Mr Nelson Mandela and other leaders were released in February 1990.
Now, nearly 21 years later after enjoying true Press Freedom, our country is facing the prospect of new measures being introduced to force the media to become "pliant" and to "follow the politician".
The memory of October 19 1977 should ensure that we don't allow ourselves to follow the "Yaa Baas" route.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rich Indian culture and music promoted in South Africa

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The importance of retaining and promoting the cultures, traditions and languages of Indian-origin people was highlighted during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Merebank Tamil School Society(MTSS) at the MTSS Hall over four days on October 7, 8, 9 and 10.
The society brought in a group of artists from India to promote the Tamil language and music.
Various speakers at the functions, including Mr Balan Gounden, chairperson of the MTSS, Mr Micky Chetty, president of the South African Tamil Federation, and Mr Bala Naidoo, president of the Tamil Federation of KwaZulu-Natal, paid glowing tributes to the MTSS for promoting and preserving the Tamil language, culture and music over the past 75 years.
Mr Gounden, in his address, pointed out that Tamil was a language that originated in the first century BC and that it was more than 5 000 years old.

Southside FM Radio


He disclosed at the end of his speech that a Tamil radio station, Southside FM Radio, will be launched soon and that all South Africans of Tamil and Telugu origins must support the radio station.
He said if everything went according to plam, Southside FM would be launched within six months.


Shri Siva Subramaniar Aalyam

A similar event promoting the Tamil language, culture, music and traditions was held at the historic Shri Siva Subramaniar Aalayam in Umdloti Drift, Verulam on Sunday, October 9.
Several cultural, musical and religious groups from all over Verulam rendered items that glorified the rich heritage brought to South Africa by Indian indentured sugar cane labourers more than 150 years ago. The organisations that participated included the SSS Aalayam Service, Verulam Kalay Khazagam, Saro Moodley Kalay Sangam, Tea Estate Service Group, Havenridge Service Group, and the Verulam Cultural Group.
Some of the items included an invocation dance by Miss Derosha Moodley, a member of Sivan Sabhay; the Gargam dance by Maliga Naidoo, Jayaranjani Govender and Saro Moodley; a tiny tots representation of Mother Sakthi, Mother Lutchmee and Mother Sarasvathi by Nikita Naicker, Keesha and Simran; a Peacock Dance; and a mother-daughter dialogue by seventy-eight-year-old Mrs Savandaly Rajgopal and Mrs Saro Moodley about the latest social decline in moral values.
One of the veterans of the SSS Aalyam, Mrs Krishnaneela Naidoo, provided outstanding musical support for the dancers and singers through the harmonium.

Professor Chandru Kisten

The chairman of the Shri Siva Subramariar Aalayam, Professor Chandru Kisten, told the gathering that it was the duty of all people, especially parents, cultural and musical organisations, to keep alive the rich heritage of "our ancestors".
"We have no alternative but to ensure that we continue to promote our cultures, languages and traditions," said Professor Kisten.
"Our rich cultures will help us to combat the social problems that our youth face today."

A renaissance of cultures, languages and traditions among Indian-origin people

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

Now that the political struggles for a free and democratic South Africa is over, there seems to be a revolution within the Indian-origin community to vigorously promote their cultures, languages, music and traditions.
This became apparent over the past few weeks when cultural and other organisations held special events to promote the rich cultural heritage and legacy of the ancestors of the Indian-origin people.
Hundreds of organisations in Verulam, Tongaat, Chakaskraal, other parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the country at large have emphasised through their functions the importance and beauty of Indian-origin cultures, traditions and languages in our multi-cultural society.

Professor Chandru Kisten

At a Saravathie celebration event in Verulam last Sunday, the president of the Shri Siva Subramaniar Aalyam in Verulam, Professor Chandru Kisten, praised South Africans of Indian-origin for passionately promoting "the rich cultures and languages of our ancestors".
He was of the view that the different communities must re-inculcate their cultural values in order to tackle the social problems that seriously affect many communities.
It is interesting to note that the rising increase in drug and alcohol abuse and other anti-social addiction are, according to Professor Kisten and other leaders, due directly to the people becoming besotten and mesmerised by negative values and influences.

Renaissance

It is, therefore, heartening to witness organisations and their members once again involved in aggressively promoting their cultures, traditions and languages. It appears to be some sort of a renaissance.
They realise that communities without their cultures, traditions and languages will become lost and sooner or later they will degenerate and destroy themselves.
The organisations and their members have nothing to be apologetic when propogating their different cultures because the new non-racial and democratic South Africa is a multi-cultural society. No one culture, tradition or language should claim to be superior or try to dominate in our new South Africa.

Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlall Nehru

In this regard, we should take note of what India's great freedom fighter and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, once said about the importance of one's culture in a multi-cultural society.
He said: "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any."
India's first Prime Minister at independence in 1947, Mr Jawaharlall Nehru, had this to say about the importance of one's culture:
"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit." - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Venk-pac International Week of Aged launched in Verulam

By Marimuthu Subramoney
More than 1 000 people, mainly the elderly and the aged, enjoyed a day of fun and entertainment at the official launch of the Venk-pac International Week of the Aged in the V J Kara Hall at the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre on Sunday, October 2.
The elderly were brought to the centre in special buses from KwaMashu, Phoenix, Tongaat, Stanger, Verulan and surrounding areas.
The event, organised by the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre, was sponsored by Mr Ricky and Mrs Shamala Naidoo of the company, Venk-Pac.
The elderly were treated to song, dance, and drama by some senior citizens. The entertainment items included a "Senorita Dance" by members of the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre; a traditional Zulu dance by the Satellite Club; and a sugar cane cutter's dance sequence by Mr Ganas Sunny of Tongaat.
Some of the special guests who attended the occasion included Mr Sunny Subban, a former chairperson of the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre; and Mr Ken Rajoo, president of the Verulam Child and Family Welfare Society.

Public Protector
The guest of honour was the CEO in the office of the Public Protector, Mr Themba Mthethwa, who represented the Public Protector, Ms Thuli Madonsela.
In his speech, Mr Mthethwa praised the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre officials and the sponsors for their work in promoting the quality of life of the elderly and the aged.
"Without the goodwill of sponsors it would be very difficult to take care of all the needs of the elderly," said Mr Mthethwa.
He gave a detailed account of the work of the Public Protector and said the Public Protector was constituted to investigate all forms of maladminstration, abuse of power, abuse of state resources, and corruption in all state departments, and state entities such as Eskom, SABC, Telkom, Water Boards.

Corruption
The Public Protector also had the power in terms of the constitution to investigate the conduct of the Executive, which included the President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers, and MECs.
Mr Mthethwa said the Public Protector tackled all forms of complaints, including concerns expressed by senior citizens regarding poor service delivery at the hands of organs of state.
"Recently, the Public Protector embarked on a two months stakeholder consultation road show, where she criss-crossed the country, interactiong with a lot of ordinary people, including older citizens.
"It is clear from these interactions that older persons still grapple with a lot of service delivery issues and others that are unique to you," he said.
He told the senior citizens that if they encountered poor service delivery, lack of proper conduct or corrupt practices at the hands of state organs, then they must lodge their complaints with the Public Protector.
"In the event that you do not get joy from these institutions, our office will be there to assist you.
"Our ultimate goal is to strengthen constitutional democracy by promoting good governance, adherence to human rights and respect for the rule of law. This will help us realise our ideal of an accountable state that operates with the highest level of integrity while being responsive to the needs of its entire people, including the children."
Mr Mthethwa warned that if South Africans failed to tackle corruption "then our children will leave the country because in a matter of time we would have depleted our resources".
"We have to ensure that our country becomes less corrupt. It's a joint effort both by the citizens and the state to ensure that we become less corrupt," said Mr Mthethwa.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Beta (son) you must aim for higher education" - an advice that Ramdhari Ragunath Singh took seriosuly

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

By Marimuthu Subramoney

"Beta (son) you must aim for higher education as this is the only way one improves in life."
This the advice that an indentured grand-father gave his grand-son, Ramdhari Ragunath Singh, on a regular basis when they used to work together on their 50-acre sugar farm at Redcliffe, near Verulam, on the North Coast.
Mr Singh, a former school principal and teacher who worked as an educator for 38 years, will celebrate his 91st
on October 25.
Born at Redcliffe on October 25 1920, Mr Singh, popularly known as R R, told me about his family's connections with India, his rise from a humble farm boy to a school principal, and his involvement in sporting and social activities in an interview at his home.
His grand-father, Mr Madho Singh, was a Sikh. He came from the village of Cholapur, near the temple town of Benares in North India, in 1890 and worked as an indentured labourer at the Waterloo Sugar Estate, near Verulam.
While working as an indentured labourer, his grandfather made some cash by lending money to his fellow indentured labourers.
"When he completed his indenture he used some of the money he had saved to buy a 50-acre farm in Redcliffe for two-and-half-crowns(25 cents) an acre," said Mr Singh who is still lively and sprightly at 91.
His grand-father married a local Indian girl and they had two sons and three daughters.
Mr Singh was the off-spring of one of the sons, Ragunath. His father and mother, Jugwanthee, had four other children - two boys and two sisters.
Only his sister, Mrs Nihaldai Goodie(86), who still lives at Redcliffe with her family, is alive today.
"My grandfather and my uncles and aunties used to work very hard on the farm. They planted sugar cane, vegetables and fruits. I remember when I was a young boy I also joined my grandfather reaping the sugar cane and transporting it to the local sugar mill in Verulam," said Mr Singh.
"It was during these times that my grandfather used to urge me not to give up on my education. He used to say: 'Beta, you must aim for higher education'.
"I will never forget his words of advice."
As a young boy he used to walk from Redcliffe to attend the Verulam Indian Primary School at Missionlands in Verulam. He completed standard six at the school and thereafter travelled to Durban to attend high school at Sastri College.
"I only completed standard nine and went back to work on the farm with my brothers and sisters. One day while working on the field, the principal of the Verulam school, Mr S R Maharaj, came to see us and asked me what I was doing.
"I told him that I had completed standard nine and at that I was assisting my grandfather in the sugar cane farm. He said he had a vacancy in his school and he wanted me to join him as a teacher.
"I started work at my former school as a teacher for five pounds (R10 at that time) a month. But while working here, Mr Maharaj not only helped me with my work as a teacher, but also encouraged me to continue with my higher education. I enrolled to study for my BA degree even though I did not complete my matriculation," he said.
In 1952 he was transferred to the newly-established Verulam High School where he worked under L G Joshua for a year.
"Then in 1953 one of the most famous principals, Simon David, was appointed to take over the leadership of Verulam High. I worked under Mr David from 1953 to 1959. This period was one of my best as a teacher. Mr David was a very dedicated and committed principal who wanted to his educators to teach and his pupils to learn. He took no nonsense and called both teachers and pupils to order when they transgressed.
"I remember once he called me into his office and said 'Mr Singh I want to offer you the position to teach History'. I said I wouldn't like the other teacher who also wanted the position to think I was taking his job.
"Mr David looked at me and said: 'Mr Singh you either accept the position voluntarily or I will make an order that you become the history teacher'. I had no option but follow the order.
"One of the pupils in my history class was Paul David, the son of Simon David. I remember Paul as a very bright boy who asked a lot of questions. Paul went onto to become a lawyer and become involved in the public life of our people."
From Verulam High, Mr Singh was transferred to the Madhosingh Primary School in Redcliffe as an acting principal in 1960. The school was built by his grandfather. Thereafter, he served as principal in several schools in Avoca and Isisinembe on the North Coast before returning to Madhosingh in 1976. He retired in 1979 after being in the profession for 38 years.
"My success in life as a teacher is entirely due to the encouragement that my indentured grandfather gave me in my early life. He was an inspiration not only for the family but also for the community as he built a school for the children of Redcliffe.
"He also did a lot of community and religious work. He made a big contribution towards the construction of the Shree Gopalal Temple in Temple Valley in Verulam."
Some of the other leaders who had influenced his life were A D Lazarus, Dharma Nair, Vasi Nair, S K Naidoo and Simon David.
Mr Singh also excelled in the sporting fields. During his days at Sastri College he played soccer and cricket. He remembers that he played football with a former pioneer of Verulam, N C Moodley, and Kista Naidoo, who at one time played for the South African Indian team.
He took a keen interest in community and social work. He served the Verulam Crematorium Trust as First Secretary; the Fellowship of Retired Teachers as First Secretary; the Verulam Diwali Charity; Verulam Football Association and the Verulam Cricket Association.
"We as people of Indian origin have come a long way since our forefathers came from India in 1860," he said.
"This is only due to the fact that our forefathers emphasised education and took measures to build temples, other religious institutions and promoted their cultures. This is what will keep us going for another 150 years.
"Without a decent education and being involved in our cultural and spiritual advancement we will be lost.
"But I am not too happy about what is happening currently. There is just too much violent crime and we live like prisoners in our own homes. This was not the situation 20 years ago. We all lived like one big family and everyone took care of one another. Today we don't even worry about our neighbours. It's a very sad development.
"Families are also disintegrating. We don't enjoy the extended family system anymore.
"But despite all the problems we have to continue to promote our cultures, languages, and religions," he said.
Although now in his twilight years, Mr Singh keeps fit by getting up every morning at 4:30am, then doing his Yoga and other exercises, having his breakfast, walking several kilometres, and returning home to read religious books.
"I have had a full life and have nothing to complain about. I stay with my son and daughter-in-law and they look after me very well. I am blessed. I am a proud descendant of my grandfather who came here from India to work as an indentured labourer."
Mr Singh, whose wife died some years ago, has two sons and one daughter, who has migrated to Australia with her family. His eldest son also passed away a few years ago.

Murders So Foul

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)



Mr Soodama Ramlall, 81, and his wife, Bhana, 70, were two senior citizens enjoying their retirement years at their humble home in Valdin Heights, Verulam. Their residential area was built about 17 years ago and all the families in their road formed a closely knit community.
The Ramlalls' had one of their three sons living with them, while most of their other family members lived in the vicinity. They were comfortable and had no concerns about their safety.
But in the early hours of Saturday, September 24, they became the latest victims of the vicious and brutal crime wave that has engulfed Verulam and other surrounding areas. Some unknown animals (even animals would not descend to such levels) gained entry into their home and snuffed out their lives. Mr Ramlall, a paraplegic, and his diebetic wife were beaten with a blunt instrument, gagged and strangled.
The criminals then ransacked the house and helped themselves to jewellery, cash and electrical goods. There's no doubt that the criminals would try to flog the jewellery that they had stolen to people who place "Cash for Gold" advertisements on trees, electricity poles and other strategic points.
At the time of the tragedy, the Ramlalls' youngest son was not at home.
The Ramlall's son-in-law, Mr Radesh Ramchurran, who lives a short distance away, was the first person who rushed to the house at about 8am on Saturday morning after being informed that his in-laws were not answering the door. Ramchurran gave permission to members of the private security company, RUSA, to break the front door of the house in order to check what had happened to his in-laws.
"What we found was horrifying. Both my elderly in-laws were lying dead with pieces of cloths shoved into their mouths. They had also been beaten very badly. The people who murdered them had gained entry into the house through the roof.
"We are all shocked and cannot understand why they had to be killed. If the people who gained entry wanted to steal they could have helped themselves to whatever they wanted because my father-in-law was crippled and my mother-in-law had eye problems because of diabetes."
Hundreds of shocked relatives, neighbours and friends attended the funeral of the Ramlalls yesterday. They also could not believe that human beings could be responsible for such brutal murders of an elderly couple who could not defend themselves.
The murders of the Ramlalls follow the murder early this year of an elderly woman, Mrs Baker, who lived alone in the nearby suburb of Everest Heights.
The police say the Ramlalls have been "soft targets" and they are investigating.
But the question that most people are asking is: "When are these dastardly deeds going to come to an end?" and "How long must families of victims wait for the murderers to be arrested and brought to book?"
Since the early 1990s literally hundreds of people have been brutally and mercilessly murdered in and around the Durban-Verulam-Tongaat and other areas, but in many cases, families are still waiting for the murderers to be brought to book.
The people have had enough of these senseless killings and the authorities must be called to account for their failure to track down many of these murderers and to bring them to justice.
Enough is enough. The authorities must either safeguard its citizens or step down from their high office. We cannot allow South Africa to become a lawless state. The death penalty should be restored if there's no other effective deterrent. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Friday, September 23, 2011

From the canefields to great heights in the social, community and financial world for Tongaat's Balan Subramunier

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

The desire by a successful Tongaat financial consultant to be involved in the social upliftment of the poor and the disadvantaged has its roots in his early life as a sugar cane labourer.
When he was 12-years-old, he and his large family of three brothers, four sisters and mother found themselves in dire straits after their father died at the young age of 42.
Their plight was so heart-wrenching that they had to rely on the assistance of the Tongaat Child and Family Welfare Society and other well-wishers for survival.
"It's this assistance and help that encouraged me to become involved in social welfare, religious, sporting and political work since my early 20s," said 65-year-old Mr Pubalan "Balan" Subramunier in an interview at his offices in the Gateway business area recently.
Born in the Sandfields farming area in June 1945, Subramunier experienced extreme poverty from an early age. He was a member of a huge brood of three other brothers, four sisters and his parents. They lived on a "lease-hold" tin shanty in the farm and his father, Subramunier Pillay, worked as a sugar estate sardar and insurance agent to support the family.
"Although we were very poor, we managed to have at least one meal a day and make do with the barest of necessities. Most days our food consisted of mealie rice and dhall. In 1947 our lives turned upside down when my father died at the young age of 42. My mother then worked as a domestic for an Indian business family but the money she earned was not enough.
"My elder brother, elder sister and I worked in the sugar fields to help my mother. We had to work eight to nine hours a day for the 25 cents pittance we were paid. But because of the slave wages and grinding poverty we were forced out of our lease-hold house. We then moved to Diptown Barracks in 1958.
"It was during this period that we were assisted by the child welfare society. At this time my mother worked as a labourer for Tongaat Hullet at the golf course."
Because of the poverty situation, young Subramunier could not complete his secondary school education. He started to work in his early teens for a clothing factory and thereafter for 10 years did odd jobs at Wentworth Hospital, for a motor spares company and a scales company in Durban.
When he was 26-years-old he was recruited by a friend to work as a life assurance salesman for Prudential Life Assurance Company, which later became known as Liberty Life. He has been attached to the company now for nearly 40 years.
"When I first started work I became interested in the Tongaat Child Welfare and started to attend meetings. I used to sit at the back because I was still new in the field of social work."
Mr Subramunier has been with the Tongaat Child Welfare for more than 40 years and had served the organisation as its secretary for five years, vice-president for a year before being elected president in 1992. He held the position for four years until 1996.
"I stepped down in 1996 because I wanted to give the younger people a chance to occupy senior positions. However, I am still involved as a vice-president.
"Over the years I have found that I fully understood the plight of the downtrodden and the poor because of my own experiences as a young boy. I cannot forget where my brothers, sisters and I came from. I will continue to be involved in social work because we have to give something back to society."
Mr Subramunier is also involved with the Sandfields Temple, an institution "that is in my blood".
"The temple was part of our lives in our early years and at times I feel that I was born in the temple. After I moved back to Sandfields in the 1970s, I became fully involved with the Temple."
He served the temple as its secretary for 12 years, president for six years and currently was the Public Relations Officer.
He is also currently secretary of the Springfield Hindu Vernacular Trust, which owns the Sandfields Primary School.
In the sporting world, he played soccer for Young Callies, Hillview Rangers and was also involved in the Commercial League. Currently he is a patron of the Maidstone Football Club.
In addition to his social, religious and sporting involvement, Mr Subramunier became involved in the ANC in Tongaat after the release of Nelson Mandela and other political leaders and the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations in 1990.
"I have always been involved with the Natal Indian Congress and when the ANC was unbanned it was only natural for me to enter the fray and contribute to the transformation process. I also had the good fortune of meeting Mr Mandela four times. These meetings have encouraged me to continue with my work in the social and other fields.
"I was also influenced by Mr Billy Nair when he moved to the Tongaat area after his release from prison. My father, who was a supporter of the NIC, also infused some political awareness in me.
"Although I am a staunch member of the ANC I am somewhat disappointed that many of the current people are not following the values and principles of Nelson Mandela, Billy Nair and other leaders. The fraud and corruption has disillusioned me and many other people."
Mr Subramunier, who is the descendant of grand parents who arrived in South Africa in the early 1900s to work as indentured labourers, is proud of his heritage while at the same time emphasising that "I am first and foremost a South African".
"We have to strongly promote our cultures, religions and languages because without these we will be lost."
He has received several awards for his work in the social and civic fields. The most prestigious award being the Inaugural Mayoral Award for Community Services in 1998. In his professional life as well Mr Subramunier has been recoginised for his service by being elected as an official of the international life assurance organisation, Million Dollar Round Table, and the South African Life Underwriters Association. At the MDRT conference in Toronto, Canada, Mr Subramunier carried the South African flag during the flag ceremony on the main platform.
Mr Subramunier's life has been described best by one of his colleagues, Ms Shirley Hunsewraj, in a company newsletter. She said he was "a humble and gentle person who has been an inspiration to all".
She wrote: "Balan stirred in me a need to serve our greater community as part of our human duty, to strive towards perfection, to aim high and work towards those goals and never to lose sight of the greater person I can be."
Mr Subramunier and his wife, Sheila, have two sons and one grand-child.

Southside FM Radio

After nearly two years of hard work, Southside FM Radio Management Committee wish to report that we have been granted a community radio licence for five years by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa(ICASA).
The committee is currently negotiating for a frequency in and around the Durban area so that we could get started as soon as possible.
The committee is made up of the following members:

... 1. Mr Balan Govender, chairman of the Merebank Tamil School Society and an official of the KwaZulu-Natal Tamil Federation.
...
2. Mr Swaminathan Gounden, a former political activist.

3. Mr Seelan Archary, chairman of the Mount Edgecombe Mariammen Temple.

4. Mrs Thirupurasundarie Govender, a Tamil scholar and teacher.

5. Mr Richard Govender, a senior official of the Andhra Maha Sabha of South Africa.

6. Ms Keresha Govender, a cultural activist.

7. Mr Sagie Naidoo, a religious activist and businessman.

8. Mr Subry Govender, former struggle journalist.

The radio station will cater for South Africans who have south Indian-origin and Tamil and Telugu backgrounds. The radio station will broadcast from 6am to 9pm on weekdays and from 6am to 12 mid-night at weekends.
In addition to the music, news, current affairs, talk shows, we will also have special programmes for the teaching of IsiZulu, Tamil and Telugu languages.

The Committee has now embarked on a programme to raise R1-million so that we start broadcasting on a positive and sound note. As part of the fund-raising drive we have decided to register members from the community at a once off membership fee of R500. We will also speak to business members from the community and also hold a fund-raising drive.

Those interested in becoming part of our project and contributing to its success must get in touch with the committee members and send inquiries to the email: ptsa@global.co.za.

Subry Govender
Chairperson
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Residents of the North Coast have had enough of the crime wave

The residents of Verulam, Tongaat, Ottawa and surrounding areas have had enough of crime

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)
On a daily basis South Africans have to put up with armed and violent robberies, car hijackings, hold-ups, break-ins and even senseless murders. This state of affairs has been on the increase for more than two decades and the powers that be have made repeated promises that they are taking steps to crack down on criminals.
But it seems their efforts are bearing no fruit whatsoever. In fact, the crime problem has gone out of control. The residents of areas such as Ottawa, Verulam, Tongaat and surroundings districts are being hit by a new crime wave. The criminals, in recent incidents, have held up and robbed guests at a wedding-eve ceremony in Parkgate and robbed some Verulam people visiting the Phoenix cemetery. They are targeting almost every suburb and township with impunity and the residents have no respite whatsoever.
The response from the police fails to infuse any confidence.
“We have registered a case of armed robbery and are investigating”, is the usual response from police spokespersons.
There’s very little report back that they are pursuing the criminals and bringing them to justice. More often than not it seems they just open a file and throw the document into a drawer where it gathers dust.
At times one cannot blame the police because they are just overwhelmed by the thousands of armed robberies, hold-ups, murders, and break-ins they have to register.
It seems were it not for the private security companies, there would only be anarchy and mayhem in our CBDs and residential areas. The residents would have no recourse to security and well-being at all.
Despite the problems the police face, the residents of Verulam, Ottawa, Tongaat and surrounding suburbs and townships have just had enough of the rising crime and criminals.
The authorities must do something urgently to re-assure the residents that they are taking strong action to rid the criminals from our midst. Anything short of this will only demonstrate that the powers that be care too hoots about law-abiding and tax and rate-paying citizens.

Monday, September 5, 2011

John Pungan - a direct descendant of indentured labourers making life easier for the frail and the aged

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

Growing up on a farm in Tea Estate, Inanda in a large family of four brothers and five sisters had not only been a lesson in self-help and fortitude but also a situation where the values of respect and care of elders was deeply imbedded.
It is this early upbringing that has stimulated Govindsamy "John" Pungan, the direct descendant of indentured labourers, to be still involved in community and social work at the ripe old age of 80.
Mr Pungan, a former educationist and school principal, is today the current chairperson of the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre, an organisation that he has been involved in for the past 21 years since 1995.
"I have been involved in community work ever since I qualified as a teacher at Springfield Training College in 1952," Mr Pungan told Makhulu News in an interview at the Verulam Day and Frail Centre offices recently.
"I see service to humanity as service to God. We are born to make a difference in the lives of people and I will continue to be involved in social and community work as long as I am alive."
For Mr Pungan the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre provides a service to the aged and the frail that is invaluable and beyond any price.
"We cater for 50 frail and aged people on a 24 hour basis and then have 89 people on the waiting list. We also have more than 520 elderly people visiting our centre on a daily basis. They are brought to our centre in three buses from all over Verulam and surrounding areas and are provided with breakfast and lunch. They are also encouraged to participate in a number of sporting, social and religious activities.
"We also have a geriatic centre where the elderly are treated. The Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre has become a major success primarily through the initial work by leaders such as Sunny Subban, the late A K Singh, S M Singh, N S Nandan, S R Lal Beharee, and Sister M Ahmed.
"We are a Non-Profit Organisation and rely to a very large extent on public goodwill for our survival. At this stage we need to have R250 000 a month to run the centre as an efficient and productive service."
In addition to the Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre, Mr Pungan has been and is still involved in a number of welfare, civic and sports organisations. They include the Verulam Child and Family Welfare Society, Verulam Blind and Deaf Society, Verulam Civic Association, Verulam Sports Council and the Verulam Bowling Club.
Born in October 1931, Mr Pungan was part of a family of five brothers and five sisters - all direct descendants of indentured parents. His father, Pungan Vellan, and mother, Thoyee, had come to South Africa in the early 1900s from the village of Thirvathiyan in the North Arcott District of Tamil Nadu in south India. They worked as indentured labourers for 10 years at Croonberg Farm and thereafter settled at Tea Estate in Inanda.
It was here that all the Pungan siblings were born. Today all his siblings are late except for an elder sister, Kamla Vayapuri.
"We had to work in the fields every day and do other chores from an early age. We used to sell our vegetables and fruit at the morning market in Durban," he said.
"But at the same time while we were involved in the fields my elder siblings and parents encouraged me to attend school."
The young man attended the Moonsamy Primary School and after completing his standard six in 1946, he attended the Stanger High School because he could not find space at the nearby Tongaat High School.
He stayed with some family members in Stanger and completed his matriculation in 1950.
He obtained his teachers diploma at the Springfield Teachers Training College in 1952 and started his teaching career at the Talwantsingh Primary School in Verulam.
He, thereafter, taught at various schools in and around Durban while at the same time furthering his tertiary education part-time through the former University of Durban-Westville and Unisa. His teaching career spanned 39 years and he retired as principal of the Woodview Primary School in Phoenix in January 1991.
"My involvement in community work began in the 1950s as a member of the Tea Estate Social Club, which assisted in improving conditions and also providing sports facilities at the Moonsamy Primary School," he said.
"At the same time I became active in the Natal Indian Teachers Society, South African Indian Teachers Association, the Teachers Association of South Africa and served in an official poisition at branch level while teaching at the Tongaat Secondary School."
After his retirement, he became active in social and welfare work in Verulam by being involved in the formation of the Verulam Retired Teachers Society, Verulam Historical Society, Verulam Documentation Centre, "Food for Life", Verulam Child and Family Welfare, and in other social, welfare and sporting organisations.
For his unblemished contribution to community work, he has been bestowed with several awards. These included the Community Service Award by the 150 Years Verulam Anniversary Celebrations Committee and the Presidential Award by the Verulam Sports Council.
Mr Pungan married Ms Doreen Samuel in 1959 and they have five children - three girls and two boys - and eight grand-children.
"We were both from different religions and to avoid any problems we had a court marriage. My wife has embraced the Hindu faith and today she knows more about Hindu rituals and practices than I do."
During the 150th anniversary observation of the arrival of indentured labourers to South Africa, the extended Pungan family published their own book to record their family's history.
The book, "The Pungan Family", according to Mr Pungan was written "in memory of all those who have passed on and created a link to the past and a bridge to the future".
Mr Pungan's philosophy in life is "whatever good I can do I must do it now because I will not get another chance again".

Are ratepayers and taxpayers being taken for granted?

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

For two Wednesdays in a row on August 17 and 24, striking municipal workers have trashed the main Wicks Street in Verulam. On August 17, the strikers carried sticks, toppled bins, scattered rubbish all over the place and even intimidated some street vendors. While all this was happening, police officers followed the rampaging mob in a police van. They did nothing to stop these lawless people.
Then a week later on Wednesday, August 24, a group of strikers demonstrated outside the local clinic, shouting slogans, trashing the street, pointing fingers at all and sundry and showing no respect for law and order. The strikers also prevented pensioners from entering the clinic to collect their much-needed medication. Once again about 40 police officers kept watch on these strikers.
Similar protest actions were also held in Tongaat on two occasions.
Law-abiding citizens, who pay their rates and taxes regularly and without any query, are deeply disgusted, disturbed and disappointed by the actions of these strikers. They are concerned that by trashing our streets, the unruly mobs are only adding to the problems that ratepayers and residents already have to put up with. The ratepayers and residents say the strikers have contributed to the further deterioration of towns that have been degenerating for sometime.
During the struggles against apartheid hundreds of residents from the two towns contributed to a better life for all. They did not struggle for a society where there would be lawlessness and where the new police force members would just fold their arms and do nothing.
Ratepayers and residents in both Verulam and Tongaat are pretty fed up and have called on the authorities to take action to restore the confidence of the ratepayers.
We all need to work for a society where our children could attend decent schools, where we could obtain decent health care in hospitals and clinics, where we could live in peace and security without having to barricade ourselves behind high walls, barbed wire and rapid response systems.
The fat cats holding high positions - officials and councillors - in municipalities must agree to earn a lower salary so that the other workers, like the strikers, can be paid a living wage.
If the powers that be cannot look after the interests of ratepayers and taxpayers, then many residents believe it's high time they started to campaign for a rates boycott. They want to know why must they pay unreasonably high rates when the Metro cannot even guarantee them cleaner streets and a healthy environment.
"We cannot put up with this disregard for the interests of ratepayers and residents any longer", one Verulam ratepayer told Makhulu News.
Many former comrades in the two towns who played leading roles in our struggles for a "better life" for all South Africans are also not too pleased with the current state of affairs. It was former President, Nelson Mandela, in 1994, after taking office, advised ratepayers to hold municipalities accountable for cleaner and safer streets and other services. He asked ratepayers to speak out very strongly if municipalities fail to deliver. It's high time ratepayers and ratepayer organisations took his advice seriously. - Subry Govender, Chief Editor

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ken Rajoo - a symbol of social welfare in Verulam

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

"I am a South African, not an Indian South African."
This is the value by which a prominent social leader of Verulam, who has served the Verulam Child and Welfare Society for the past 37 years, lives his life.
Mr Ken Rajoo, 73, a former educator and school principal, has been serving the Society in various capacities since 1974.
"I am of the firm view that although we are of Indian origin we are South Africans and as such we have to play our full role in the development of our country," Mr Rajoo told Makhulu News in an interview at the offices of the Society in Verulam recently.
"In the early days the Society, which was started in 1933, mainly concentrated on assisting people of Indian origin to overcome many social and economic problems.
"But today, since the establishment of our new democracy, most of our clients are black African people. Our services have changed fundamentally and we are dealing with issues such as HIV-AIDs and other social problems."
Mr Rajoo has not only been with the Society for more than three-and-half decades but has also been its president for 23 consecutive years from 1980 to 2003. Thereafter, he has served as vice-president and currently is a Patron and executive member.
One of his innovations was the popular Verulam Charity Fair, which he pioneered in 1986 in order to raise the much-needed funds for the Society.
Mr Rajoo's entry into the world of social welfare has its roots in the Mount Edgecombe Sugar estate barracks where he was born in March 1938. As a young boy he became aware of the suffering endured by the sugar estate workers and the conditions under which the workers lived in the barracks.
In 1948 when he was 10-years-old his parents moved to Verulam and during most of his teenage life they stayed in central Verulam.
After completing his matriculation at the Verulam Indian High School in 1956, Mr Rajoo attended the Springfield Teachers Training College where he obtained his teachers diploma in 1958. His first posting as a teacher was at the Jhugroo Government Aided Indian School in Ottawa where he taught for five years.
He, thereafter, taught at Verulam High and various schools in Laudium, Pretoria; Chatsworth, Phoenix and Verulam. After acting as principal at the Shree Gopallal Temple School in Verulam in 1980, he received his first posting as principal at the Madhosingh Memorial School in Verulam in 1981. He was then in 1982 appointed principal at the Everest Heights Primary School in Verulam where he remained until he was boarded on medical grounds in February 1994 after being an educationist for 36 years.
While being a teacher and principlal, Mr Rajoo at the same time played an active role in social, community, religious, educational and sporting organisations.
Besides the Verulam Child and Welfare Society, which he joined at the age of 36, Mr Rajoo also served the Verulam High Ex-Students Bursary Trust Fund as chairman; the Sri Siva Subramaniar Alayam of Umdhloti Drift; FOSA, Verulam Clinic Board, Verulam and Districts Senior Citizens Committee, Verulam Day and Frail Care Centre, Verulam Football Club and the Verulam Suburbs FC.
Mr Rajoo said before he joined the Society in 1974 he was inspired by the pioneers who mooted and served the organisation in the early years. They included the Mr Y S Chinsamy, Mr D V Moodley, Mr A L Narayadu, and Mr Joe Stephens who are now all late.
He said over the past 37 years he has served with a number of dedicated citizens of Verulam. They include, among others, the late Mr A K Singh (a former school principal and education chief during the days of the SAIC), Mr A N M Khan, Mr I Phlad, the late Mr R L Beharee, the late Mr C P Naidoo, Mrs K Nandhan, Mr B. Bhaba and Mrs R. Joseph.
Mr Rajoo said the Verulam Charity Fair, which was now the main source of income for the Society, had become a major attraction primarily because of the work of a number of people.
"For several decades the Society relied on donations and contributions by members of the community," he said.
"But this did not really meet our expenses. In 1986 we took a decision to hold a Charity Fair in order to raise funds. This fair has now become our main source of income. Without this Fair, we will not be able to meet all our expenses."
Mr Rajoo is married to Indira Devi, who has been an active member of the Society for the past 28 years. They have two adult children, Ravin and Sharendra.
For his invaluable service to the community, Mr Rajoo has been bestowed with a number of awards. They include two awards by the Verulam Child and Family Welfare for his dedicated service to the organisation. One award was presented on the 75th anniversary of the Society in 2008. He also received an award along with nine other Verulam members from Child Welfare South Africa for serving the movement for more than 25 years.
Mr Rajoo, who is at his desk at the society on a daily basis, is of the view that the quality of people who have served and still serve the Society and other community organisations would be difficult to replace in years to come.
"The young people of today are showing no interest whatsoever in social and community work," he said.
"I don't know what is going to happen once the committed people of today are not around."
He was also concerned about current situation in the educational and other fields in the new South Africa.
"When we were teachers the children had a great deal of respect for their elders and educators. But today there seems to be a breakdown in values.
"Then we have a deterioration in health and education standards and it's the poor and the disadvantaged who are still being marginalised. What we had hoped for in 1994 is not being delivered to the vast masses of the people.
"I am also very concerned about the extent to which corruption has eroded our government departments and the high unemployment rate is very worrying."
Despite the negative developments in many areas of life, Mr Rajoo is firm of the view that South Africans must rally together to help the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised to lead a "better life".
Mr Rajoo's motivation in the social welfare field is based on the life of an American sociologist, David Biggs, who once said:
"Money can't buy you happiness, but it can certainly allow you to look for it in the best places."

G K Moodley - a shining example for the whole of humanity

By Marimuthu Subramoney
(aka Subry Govender)

A former farm boy, who has been an educator for nearly 40 years, is still continuing his service to humanity at the age of 79.
In addition to the educational and religious organisations he serves, Mr Moodley is the life blood of the Verulam Hospice, an organisation that he and a number of other community workers established 12 years ago.
Despite his age, Mr Moodley is at the Verulam Hospice headquarters in Riyadh, Verulam, everyday from 8am in the morning to 4pm.
"It is the community that has made us what we are today. Therefore, we must serve selflessly till we go to the grave," an unassuming Mr Moodley told me in an interview at the Verulam Hospice centre recently.
The gentle and humble giant believes in the philosophy that "the world does not owe us anything".
"We are born to serve. Service to humanity is service to God."
Mr Ganasen Konapalan Moodley, who is popularly known as "GK", has come a long way from the farming area of Inanda where he was born on June 4, 1932. He was the eldest of 10 brothers and three sisters and belonged to a large extended family. Three brothers and one sister are now late.
Mr Moodley, whose parents were market gardeners, is a descendant of an indentured labourer, Mr Appasamy Moodley, who came to the then Natal colony from the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu.
Although his parents were working class people, they emphasised the importance of education among all their children.
"All of us had to do our stints on the farm but for some reason or the other I was allowed to concentrate on my education."
He first attended a school in 1939 under a wattle tree in Inanda and, thereafter, went onto to complete his primary school education at the famous Moonsamy Government-Aided Indian School in Inanda. He attended the Tongaat High School where he was one of four pupils who attained first class passes in standard eight. Mr Moodley and three other class mates were accepted by Sastri College in Durban where they completed their matriculation.
He, thereafter, qualified as a teacher at the Springfield College of Education and started to teach at the age of 19 at the Tongaat High School. He was at Tongaat High for only one month and, thereafter, moved to the Doringkop Primary School on the North Coast where he taught for three years. Over the next 35 years, Mr Moodley taught at various schools throughout the province as a teacher, deputy principal and principal.
The schools include Wild Memorial and Moonsamy Primary in Inanda, Verulam High (which is now known as Verulam Secondary), Estcourt Secondary(vice-principal), S L Naidoo in Winterton(principal), Weenen Primary(principal), Deccan Road Primary in Pietermaritzburg(deputy principal), Stanger Primary School (principal), Chaks Primary School (principal), Chatsworth New Haven, Highstone Primary (Phoenix) and finally Mounthaven Primary in Verulam.
Mr Moodley retired in 1991 at the age of 59 from Mounthaven Primary where he served as principal for eight years. He was an educator for nearly 40 years.
"The standard of education in those days was very very high because the children showed a great deal of respect to their teachers. For instance, when I taught at Verulam High we had Mr Simon David, who as the principal instilled commitment and dedication among both teachers and pupils.
"I sincerely wish we could inculcate this discipline, dedication and commitment in our schools today."
He has been so dedicated to his profession that throughout his teaching career, he has not taken a single day of "sick leave".
Mr Moodley began his public life in the early 1960s when, together with other ex-pupils of the Moonsamy Primary School, he helped to build extensions at the school. When he moved into Verulam in 1972, Mr Moodley, who is a deeply religious person, joined the Shri Siva Subramaniam Alayam in Umdloti Drift where he used to organise the Sunday services. He served the temple as a secretary, vice-chairman, and chairman. He now serves the temple as a trustee.
He was also responsible for the establishment of the Verualm Retired Teachers' Association, an organisation he has been the treasurer of for the past 14 years, and the Verulam Historical Society, of which he is also the treasurer.
In 1997, Mr Moodley and a number of other community workers became involved in the establishment of the Verulam Hospice to help the terminally ill. After occupying a number of premises in Verulam, the organisation moved to their present premises in Riyadh in 2004. He has been the chairman for 12 years and currently serves as the HLVP of the organisation.
"We offer hospice palliative care mainly to those afflicted with the HIV-AIDs virus and to cancer patients. We have a dedicated staff of 14 people who are helping those who are very ill. Currently we provide assistance to more than 254 adults and 30 children from Ottawa in the south to Stanger in the north. We are an NGO organisation and all our expenses are met through the kind assistance and donations by members of the public.
"Providing this service brings immense joy to all of us."
For his community service, Mr Moodley has been given a number of awards. These include the "community development" award by the Verulam 150th Anniversary Committee; Paul Harris Fellow Award by the Umhlanga Rocks Rotary for his "good relations and fellowship"; and Shri Siva Subramaniam Golden Anniversary Award for his services to the temple.
Mr Moodley, who speaks and writes Tamil, said for him the adherence to tradition and culture was just as important as "service to humanity".
"Without our languages and cultures we will be lost. It's, therefore, vitally important that all attempts are taken to ensure that our languages and cultures are promoted."
Mr Moodley, who married Ruby Moodley in 1957, has five adult daughters, six grand-children and one great-grand-child who is five-months-old.
Mr Moodley has been described as a person "who has realised that his human life is constructed in such a manner that he has to perform actions that will make him move towards a spiritual destination".
Mr Moodley himself has taken a leaf out of the lives of great philosophers, swamis and spiritual leaders.
One of them is George Bernardt Shaw who once said: "I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle for me. It is sort of a splendid torch, which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on the future generations."
A person of great humility, commitment, dedication, integrity, dignity and honesty, Mr Moodley is a shining example of a selfless community worker, not only in the town of Verulam, but humanity as a whole.