Monday, April 20, 2015


From L to R: Mrs Thirupuriesundrie Govender (Board member), Mr Denis Naidoo(asst treasurer), Mr Richard Naidoo(deputy chairperson), Mr Subry Govender (secretary), Mrs Sally Padaychie (chairperson), Mr Swaminathan Gounden (Board member), Mr Sumeshen Moodley (assist secretary), Mr Balan Gounder (Board member and former chairperson), and Mr Logan Naidoo (Board member)

                                            BY SUBRY GOVENDER

Former struggle activist, Mrs Sally Padaychie, has been elected as the new chairperson of Southside FM Radio that is currently negotiating with Communications Minister, Ms Faith Muthambi, for a frequency.
Southside, since its initiation five years ago, has been struggling to obtain a frequency despite being given assurances by ICASA.
Mrs Padaychie, who is the widow of the late Minister Roy Padaychie, was elected at the annual meeting of Southside held in Durban on Saturday, April 18.
Mrs Padaychie was elected after veteran cultural leader, Mr Balan Gounder, stepped down from the chairperson's position.


(Mrs Sally Padaychie (right) addressing government leaders at a meeting in Durban in 2014 about our frequency. Also in the picture are Mr Richard Naidoo (centre) and Mr Logan Naidoo)

After her election, Mrs Padaychie told the meeting that she would intensify her negotiations with Government for Southside to be allocated a frequency as soon as possible.
Mrs Padaychie said she was currently in negotiations with Communications Minister, Ms Faith Muthambi, and senior officials of the Department of Communications and ICASA.
"This radio station was initiated as a progressive radio station to, in addition to promoting our cultures, lamnguages, music and traditions, we want to promote a spirit of Ubuntu and racial and religious tolerance among all the people in South Africa," Mrs Padaychie told the meeting.
She also said: "At this time when we face the serious situation of xenophobia we could have played a crucial role in promoting tolerance and respect for one another - irrespective of race, ethnicity, citizenship or religion.
"The lack of a frequency is frustrating our efforts."
In addition to Southside members, the meeting was also attended by the president of the South African Tamil Federation, Mr Karthigasen Moothsamy, and his executive officials, Mr Poovendran Govender, Mr Sadha Balakrishnan, and Mr Parie Pillay-Ramaya.
Mr Moothsamy said they fully supported the struggles of Southside and would continue to take up the issue with Government and the ruling ANC.
"We are with you all the way and really appreciate all the hard work that have already been undertaken by your officials," said Mr Moothsamy.
The other officials elected are: Mr Balan Gounder and Mr Richard Naidoo (deputy chairpersons); Mr Subry Govender (secretary); Mr Sumeshen Moodley (assistant secretary); Ms Kersha Govender (treasurer); Mr Denis Naidoo (assistant treasurer); and Mr Richard Govender, Mr Logan Naidoo, Mr Swaminathan Gounden and Mrs Thirupurisundrie Govender.
The meeting also confirmed the Board of Governors, which will be overall in charge of the radio station. The members of the Board are: Mr Balan Gounder, Mrs Sally Padaychie, Mr Logan Naidoo, Mr Subry Govender, Ms Keresha Govender, Mr Swaminathan Gounden, Mr Denis Naidoo and Mrs Thirupuriesundrie Govender.
In his secretarial report, Mr Subry Govender, acknowledged the support of donors who made tremendous contributions to Southside. They include Mr Singaram Nadarajan of Mount Edgecombe; the Merebank Tamil School Society(MTSS); Mr Mickey Chetty, former president of the South African Tamil Federation; Dr Dilly Naidoo; the late Mr Sunny Subban; Mr Nalliah of Johannesburg; Dr Maheshan Pillay; Mr Deva Poonoosami of London; Mrs Sally Padaychie and scores of other donors.
Mr Govender also acknowledged a donation of R200 000 made by a prominent businessman who asked to remain anyonymous.
"We also want to salute the Mount Edgecombe Mariammen Temple and Cultural Centre for being there for us at all times. We greatly appreciate their continued support and for agreeing to provide us with premises for our radio station."
About the delays caused by the lack of a frequency, Mr Govender informed the meeting that the Southside officials had done everything possible to fulfil all the requirements to launch as soon as possible.
"But, despite being promised a number of frequencies at every turn, we are being frustrated in our efforts. We have taken up our fight with all the role players in Government and political and business leaders.
"We are now stepping up our negotiations and will not give up the fight until we obtain our frequency," he said.
Mr Logan Naidoo, a member of the Board of Governors, said he was confident that with the introduction of digital radio and television soon, more frequencies would become available.
"I believe that we would have our frequency within the next six months as the digital format starts," he said.


(Dr Stephen Mncube (second from left), Chairperson of ICASA, Mr Eric Kholwane, former chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications, meeting officials of Southside early in 2014 in Durban where an agreement was reached for a frequency. But this has not yet been implemented)

Mr Chairperson, Mr Balan Gounder, other officials and members, it gives me great pleasure to present an up to date report about Southside FM Radio.
When we initiated the project in late 2009 we all were under the impression that this would be an easy project and that we would launch our radio station at the soonest possible time.
We did everything in our power to provide all the necessary documents required by ICASA for our licence and the Department of Social Welfare for our NPO number.
It was a long and arduous journey and after interventions by the late Minister, Mr Roy Padaychie, were were given a letter by ICASA to state that we would be granted a five-year community licence once our frequency was finalised.
Over the years we were offered various frequencies but even after signing the documents and submitting them to ICASA, we were faced with one problem after another.
Since October 2009, we took our fight to various levels, including the former Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Mr Eric Kholwane; Chairperson of ICASA, Dr Stephen Ncube; former Communications Minister, Mr Yunus Carrim; national treasurer of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize; and other Government leaders.
Mr Kholwane in fact had convened a meeting of all the top leaders of the departments concerned at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban on April 26 2013 to sort out our frequency problems.
This was a follow-up meeting to the one that Mr Kholwane called at the same venue early in February 2013.
For the record the following officials, among others, attended the meeting:
1. Mr S E Kholwane, Chairperson Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications.
2. Dr Stephen Ncube, Chairperson of ICASA.
3. Dr Setuma Mohapi, CEO of Sentech.
4. Mr Patrick Sikhosana, KZN Manager, Sentech.
5. Mr Nkopane Maphiri, MDDA.
6. An official of the Department of Comunications, and
7. Ms Lulama Makhobo, former CEO of SABC.
The Southside officials present at this from our side included:
1. Mr Bala Gounder (Chairperson)
2. Mr Subry Govender (Secretary)
3. Ms Keresha Govender (Treasurer)
4. Mr Swaminathan Gounden
5. Mr Logan Naidoo
6. Mrs Sally Padaychie
7. Mr Denis Naidoo
8. Mr Richard Naidoo
The following points emerged during this meeting:
1. Dr Mohapi, CEO of Sentech, gave an outline of the frequency that would be made available to us with the assistance of the SABC.
Dr Mohapi committed himself and gave an assurance that such a frequency would be made available within the shortest time possible, most likely within a month.
2. Ms Makhobo, CEO of SABC, also made a commitment that she would work with Dr Mohapi in providing us with the necessary frequency.
3. Dr Ncube, Chairperson of ICASA, also pledged his full support in the granting of the frequency.
4. The Chairperson, Mr Kholwane, observed that this frequency must be ironed out within the shortest time possible.
Finally, Mr Kholwane broached the subject of Southside sharing airtime with the SABC's Lotus FM Radio.
When Minister Yunus Carrim took over after the sad passing away of Minister Padayachie, he put a number of measures in place for Southside to share the Radio 2 000 frequency in Durban. But this for some reason has come to nought even after Sentech had conducted all the tests to allow for Southside to utilise Radio 2000 frequency from the Bluff in Durban.
After the elections early last year, we took up the fight with the new Minister, Ms Faith Muthambi; the Department of Communications; the Presidency and the ANC.
We even pointed out that the 96.8 frequency had not been utilised for more than three years and we believe that this frequency should have been granted to us some time ago.
We also pointed out that we are still interested in sharing air-time on Lotus FM, which falls under the PUBLIC BROADCASTER ( SABC ). We firmly believed that this will be a viable alternative that will be in the interests of all concerned especially in view of the fact that Southside is better able to deliver to the South Indian-origin community on its "core mandate".
Early this year, Mrs Sally Padaychie and Mr Logan Naidoo had taken up the issue with the new Minister and Mrs Padaychie held talks with the Minister and the Deputy Director of Ciommunciations in Pretoria. Once again the Minister promised to "sort out this mess".
The Deputy Director even told me that: "Subry, don't worry. I will ensure that for the sake of the late Minister Roy Padaychie Southside will get a frequency."
Mrs Padaychie even took up the matter with the chairperson of ICASA, Dr Stephen Mncube.
At this stage, we are still waiting for some positive response. And on March 31, 2015 we wrote a lengthy memorandum to Mr Phil Molefe at ICASA who was asked by Dr Stephen Mncube to sort out the matter. Unfortunately, we have not yet heard from Mr Molefe.
It seems that our only last hope now is to directly appeal to President Jacob Zuma to intervene in the matter.
I wish to report that at every turn over the past five years we have been keeping our supporters and donors informed of the latest developments regarding Southside's battle to start broadcasting.
At the same time, while we have been engaged in all this work, we have not utilised a single cent of the funds in Southside. We did not even use any funds when we travelled to Johannesburg to hold talks with ICASA in 2012.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Mr Logan Naidoo for his willingness to assist us at all times. We want to bring to the attention of our members and supporters that Mr Naidoo and his PA, Ms Caitlin, have always made his premises available at all times for our meetings.
We would like to point out that with people like Mr Naidoo on our Board of Governors and Management Committee, Southside would reach its goal as soon as possible.
We would also like to thank our chairperson, Mr Balan Gounder; Mr Swaminathan Gounden, Mr Denis Naidoo, Ms Keresha Govender, Ms Sally Padaychie, Mr Richard Govender and Mr Richard Naidoo for their passion and commitment to our cause to launch a radio station for people of south Indian-origin in South Africa.
We also want to thank several other people who have made significant contributions to Southside. They include Mr Singar Nadarajan, who gave a donation of R100 000; Mr Mickey Chetty, former president of the SATF and now president of the International Organisation for the Promotion of Tamil Culture, who gave an amount of R55 000; Dr Dilly Naidoo, who donated R10 000; Mrs Sally Padaychie, who gave R10 000; Mr Nalliah of Johannesburg, who gave R5 000; Dr Maheshan Pillay, who gave R5 000; Mr Deva Poonoosami, who gave R5 000; and the late Mr Sunny Subban, who gave R5 000. There are also scores of others who contributed financially. They are numerous in number.
Then, last but not least, the Merebank Tamil School Society, who used to provide us premises for our meetings and who sponsored our fund-raising dinner at MTSS to the tune of nearly R60 000.
We also want to salute the Mount Edgecombe Mariammen Temple and Cultural Centre for being there for us at all times. We greatly appreciate their continued support and for agreeing to provide us with premises for our radio station.
We want to salute all the people who have stood with us and who continue to support our initiative to launch a radio station.
It has been a long and arduous struggle since 2009 and we want to continue with this struggle until we launch our radio station.

Monday, April 13, 2015


According to Tamil scholars April 14 is the first day of the Tamil New Year or Puthandu and Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Reunion, Mauritius, Canada, South Africa and other parts of the world greet each other by saying: "Puthandu Vazthukal" or Happy New Year.
In Tamil Nadu, the people, on the eve of April 14, follow a custom of arranging a tray with three fruits - mango, banana and jack fruit - and betel leaves and areca nuts, jewellery, money, flowers and a mirror to be placed inside their homes.  They do this so that they can view the tray on the morning of April 14 or the Tamil New Year.

The people mark the day with a feast and entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with kolams.
The celebration of the Tamil New Year is an event that started more than 30 000 years ago and is as old as the Tamil language, which is regarded as the oldest living language (classical)  in the world.
Tamil scholars say the Tamil New Year is the day "when our body and soul is filled with happiness and hope for a better future".
The better future is "happiness, prosperity, peace and love."



Leaders and activists in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, and the diaspora have called on the people to remember the suffering of the Tamils of Sri Lanka at this time when the Tamil New Year is being observed.
During the last days of the civil war in 2009, between 70 000 to 100 000 Tamils were slaughtered by Sri Lankan soldiers and Tamils are still faced with land invasions, arrests, rapes and all types of human rights violstions in the North and East of the island country.
Human rights violations of the Tamils have become an every day affair and this state of affairs led to the United Nations Human Rights Council resolving in Geneva in 2013 to launch a independent investigation into the human rights abuses.
So when we observe Puthaandu, let us all spare a thought for the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka.


(A statue of Mahatma Gandhi in central Johannesburg was defaced by a group of people who wrote a slogan:  "Gandhi must go.")


By Subry Govender

The South African Tamil Federation and its affiliates have joined other South Africans to condemn the vandalisation of the Mahatma Gandhi Statue in Gandhi Square in central Johannesburg at the weekend.
A 21-year-old man, who was part of a group of people who smeared the statue with white paint and scribbled unsavoury comments about Gandhi, was arrested soon afterwards and scheduled to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrates' Court on Monday, April 13 2015. Another person has also been arrested and will appear in court on Monday as well.
The group of culprits also defaced a nearby plaque about Gandhi's campaigns against racism and colonialism in South Africa.
The Gandhi statue is situated near the head office of the ruling ANC in central Johannesburg.
The slogans painted on the statue read: "Racist Gandhi must fall.", and "Gandhi must go."


(Mr Karthi Moothsamy, president of SATF)

Mr Karthi Moothsamy, chairperson of the Tamil Federation, made an urgent appeal to the Government of South Africa and all Provincial Premiers to enforce a mechanism of intervention that would ensure education of the younger generation about the roles "many have played in our national quest for freedom and democracy regardless of ethnic origin".
 "The South African Tamil Federation," he said,  "are keen to preserve the legends of stalwarts within our fold who have been significant role players during the struggles for freedom".
He said: "There have been many South African heroes and heroines of Indian-origin and other prominent international figures who have contributed to shaping our journey towards freedom and equality of all South Africans. We believe that education of their roles is of utmost importance to ensure that their place in history is reserved and we are able as a nation to appreciate with understanding their contribution.
"We appeal to the Government of our country to ensure that a statement citing reasons for Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s place of honour is released immediately to start the process of education.
"We trust that we will receive the support needed to ensure the preservation and protection of all monuments that have been erected to honour the role of South Africans of Indian- origin have played in ensuring the realisation of the Freedom Charter (The Freedom Charter is a document drawn up by the ANC, the South African Indian Congress, Natal Indian Congress, Coloured Peoples' Congress and the Congress of Democrats(white progressives) in 1955 as a guide for the development of a non-racial and democratic future South Africa.")
A spokesperson for the Gandhi Development Trust in South Africa, Mr Satish Dhupelia, reacting to the incident said it appeared that many young people in South Africa today do not understand the part played by Gandhi in promoting freedom and liberation from racism and colonialism.
"Mahatma Gandhi was admired by people such as Dr Albert Luthuli and Baba Nelson Mandela and they often said that they were inspired by Gandhi.
"Leaders such as Martin Luther King and recently President Barack O'Obama also said they were inspired by Gandhi," he said.


(Ms Ela Gandhi)

The grand-daughter of Gandhi in South Africa, Ms Ela Gandhi, who was a former MP of the ruling ANC in the new democratic parliament, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Monday that it was a shame that some people were so intolerant that they had no respect for others.
But, she said, vandals would not succeed in wiping out "our history".
"If these people are not stopped then all of us would suffer," said Ms Gandhi.
The ruling ANC also condemned the vandalisation of the Gandhi statue and called on the police to take action against the perpetrators.
"We condemn whoever was arrested and call on the police to do their duty," said Mr Keith Khoza, a spokerson for the ruling party.

The Gandhi statue has been vandalised at a time when there is a major controversy over the removal of statues that were built during the colonial and apartheid eras.


(Mahatma Gandhi statue in the town of Verulam, north of Durban. Gandhi addressed his last meeting in the town before returning to India in the early 1900s).

There are similar Gandhi statues in the towns of Verulam, north of Durban; Pietermaritzburg, where Gandhi was thrown off a train while travelling from Durban to Johannesburg; and in Ladysmith, in the midlands of the KwaZulu-Natal province.
Gandhi was thrown off the train by a white conductor because he sat in a coach meant for "whites only".
The campaign to remove colonial statues began at the University of Cape Town recently when students called for the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, a former British merchant class man and business tycoon, who developed mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Prior to Zimbabwe's independence more than 35 years ago, the country was known as Rhodesia, named after Cecil John Rhodes.
This statue at the University of Cape Town has now been removed after a decision by the University Council.
Statues of colonial and Afrikaner leaders in Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth have also been defaced with black activists calling for the removal of all colonial and apartheid statues.
This campaign is being led by the radical political party, Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF), led by the firebrand Julius Malema.
However, President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet Ministers have condemned the defacing of the statues and said South Africa's history must be protected so that future generations could understand the past.
President Zuma said his government would not tolerate lawlessness and if people were opposed to statues depicting the apartheid and colonial past, then negotiations must take place for those statues to be removed to museums.
This past weekend, a prominent media activist and journalist, Mr Dennis Pather, warned that it would not take long for those who want to get rid of apartheid and colonial statues to also target statues of Mahatma Gandhi.
In his column for the Durban-based Sunday Tribune, Pather, among things, wrote: "What if some misdirected race-monger with little respect for histroical truths claims black people are suffering because Indians control the economy in KZN(which they don't, of course?) (KwaZulu-Natal is the province where most of the descendants of indentured labourers live and work. There are reported to be more than 1,2-million descendants of indentured labourers in South Africa.)
"Will the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and teenage martyr, Velliamma Moodliar, also get the Dulux treatment?"
Pather said those promoting the removal of colonial and apartheid statues had more social and economic priorities to tackle.
The campaign against the colonial and apartheid statues also takes place at a time when a wave of xenophobia is sweeping the country, especially KwaZulu-Natal, against Africans from other parts of Africa.
At least five people have been killed and hundreds of foreign Africans have been displaced due to the latest wave of xenophobia.  Widespread attacks against foreign Africans first took place in 2008 when more than 100 people were killed around the country.- ends (Subry Govender)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


(Statues to remember our indentured forefathers and mothers at Mt Edgecombe Mariammen Temple. A star attraction during the Easter festival)



 (Some of the tens of thousands of people who visited the Shri Mariammen Temple site during the Easter weekend)

                                                             By Subry Govender

Hundreds of thousands of descendants of indentured sugar cane labourers have once again visited religious places and institutions and participated in spiritual upliftment programmes at various venues throughout the country during the 2015 Easter weekend.
The people took part in ceremonies, started by their forefathers and mothers, at the Isipingo Temple, south of Durban; Mount Edgecombe Mariammen Temple, north of Durban; at the Brake Village Temple in Tongaat, on the north coast; at the Riet River Shri Emperumal Temple in Ottawa; at the Hara Krishna Chariot Festival in Durban; and also at churches.
The visit to the temples and the participation of the people in various spiritual programmes is understood to have started in the early years after our forefathers and mothers arrived to work as indentured labourers (slaves) on sugar estates on the north coast and south coast of the then Natal Colony.
According to various historians, when the sardars and owners of the sugar estates took time off to go to churches during Good Friday and the rest of the Easter weekend, the majority of our indentured ancestors dedicated the Easter weekend to visit religious sites at Isipingo, Mount Edgecombe, Tongaat, Stanger, Illovo, Umzinto, Port Shepstone and other areas where they had been indentured.
At the same time, those indentured labourers who followed the Christian faith visited religious sites of their own.
This tradition has continued, prospered and grew since then and over the decades to become an annual pilgrimage for most people during the Easter weekend. At one time in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s this annual pilgrimage to Isipingo and Mount Edgecombe used to attract more than 500 000 people. But since the dawn of democracy in 1994 when many thousands of people began migrating to the Johannesburg-Pretoria region; Cape Town; other regions of the country and to overseas countries such as Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe, the attendances began to drop.
But despite the new patterns in lifestyles, the spiritual pilgrimages have still continued and Easter weekend in 2015 was no different.

(Devotees offering prayer at the Shri Mariammen Temple iin Mt Edgecombe during the Easter weekend)


(Stalwarts of the Young Springboks Football Club and the Mount Edgecombe Sporting Club who are reviving the spirit of the old Matra Cotrie)

The people I spoke to at some of the pilgrimage sites re-iterated their commitment to promoting their rich cultures and traditions started by their indentured ancestors.
"Our visit here and participation in the religious ceremonies is a source of spiritual upliftment for all of us," said Mr Nanda Govender, who visited the Mount Edgecombe Mariammen Temple.
Despite some moments of rainy weather and inclement weather, the tens of thousands of people, in addition to offering their prayers at the newly-upgraded temple, also enjoyed the musical entertainment that was provided throughout the four days of the Easter weekend. They also purchased music, movie, Eastern clothing and other items from the numerous shops in the festival grounds.
Mr Danny Maharaj, 65, who was born in the Mount Edgecombe sugar barracks, said he would never forget the joy and happiness that they used to enjoy in their early days.
"It's for this reason that I visit this place every year so that I could recall the wonderful lives that we used to live in this area," he said.
"The religious sites are our roots and we must never forget where we come from. By visiting this place I bump into a lot of people who I have not met for many, many years.
"O'h the thousands of people who come here annually remind me of the early days," he said.
Former members of the Young Springboks Football Club and the Mount Edgecombe Sporting Club were also busy at a special booth they had set up. They want to revive the spirit of the past and to honour those who contributed immensely to soccer and sports in general in the Mount Edgecombe sugar barracks.

(Devotees at the Kavady Festival in Riet River (Ottawa) during the Easter weekend)



(Devotees at the Kavady Festival in Riet River (Ottawa) during the Easter weekend)

          (Mr Aboo Padvattan and a former resident of the Ottawa Estate sugar barracks at the Kavady ceremony)

Mr Aboo Padvattan, who attended a Kavady ceremony at Riet River in Ottawa, was also proud of the cultures and traditions started by his ancestors.
"Most of the people who are settled in this area are families who worked on sugar platantions at the Ottawa Estate, Blackburn, and other sugar estates in this area," he said.
"We are extremely happy to see so many people come year on an annual basis to participate in this Kavady ceremony.
"This ceremony brings us happiness, joy, and spiritual upliftment," he said.

(Mr Muthen is a former resident of School Road in Ottawa who is a senior official of the Riet River Temple)

Mr Muthen, a resident of Ottawa, now plays a very vital role in the Riet River Temple kavady.
He said as a descendant of indentured sugar cane labourers he wanted to play a role in promoting the cultures, traditions, music, and spirituality of his ancestors.
"We must be proud and appreciate the sacrifices made by our forefathers and mothers," he said.
"We have come a long way from the sugar cane fields and have achieved a great deal in all spheres of life. It is, therefore, vital that we must at every opportunity promote our customs, traditions, cultures and spirituality."

The Hare Krishna festival in Durban is not as traditional as the pilgrimages to Isipingo and Mount Edgecombe. But, never the less, this annual festival also keeps alive our rich cultures, traditions, history and spirituality.
Here I met a group of four young professionals who re-iterated their love for their rich traditions.

"We find that this type of pilgrimage promotes the good in all people," said one of the young men, who said they were from the town of Verulam on the North Coast.
"There's a lot of things for people to do here, especially participating in programmes promoting peace of mind and spirituality."


The people I spoke to say the  visit  to religious sites and participation in spiritual programmes during the Easter weekend is a tradition that has become part and parcel of the lives of descendants of indentured labourers. It's a tradition, they say, that will grow and prosper for ever and ever.
"This is a tradition that is our way of paying tribute to our indentured ancestors," said one of the people who visited the Mount Edgecombe festival.

Mt Edgecombe Easter pictures 6 - 4 - 2015

Mt Edgecombe and Hare Krishna pictures 6 4 2015