Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Zuma Must Fall January 26 2016 INTRO: The on-going campaign in South Africa for President Jacob Zuma to be removed from office will be heightened today (Jan 27 2016). The official Democratic Alliance (DA) opposition will lead a major protest march in Johannesburg to highlight the concerning downturn in the economy as part of the overall camapaign for Zuma to step down. Subry Govender reports........ .

Monday, January 25, 2016


By Subry Govender
Fresh from the celebrations of the Pongal festival a week ago, tens of thousands of people of Indian-origin in South Africa took part in the annual holy Kavady ceremony all over the country on Sunday, January 24.
Despite the severe and scorching heat, the faithful followers and believers - including little boys and girls - turned up in huge numbers at temples all over South Africa to carry the colourful Kavady on their shoulders and pull the beautifully-decorated chariots. The devotees packed holy temples in towns such as Stanger, Tongaat, Shakas Kraal, Verulam, Phoenix, Chatsworth, Durban, Isipingo, Umkomaas, Umzinto, Port Shepstone, Pietermaritzburg, Dundee and Ladysmith in the KwZulu-Natal Province of the country where majority of the people of Indian-origin reside. Thousands of devotees also carried the Kavady in the Johannesburg-Pretoria region and in Cape Town, East London and Port Elizabeth.
One of the busiest Kavady ceremonies was held at the Umdloti Drift Subramaniar Alayam in the town of Verulam, and 35km north of Durban. Here more than 1 300 devotees carried the Kavady with the help of hundreds of officials and volunteer workers.
The seering heat took its toll on many devotees but despite this, the devotees stood patiently in long lines to participate in the prayer services. The beautiful Kavady music that rang out loud and clear also helped the devotees to bear the scorching heat. There were also a number of people who provided the devotees with cool drinks and milk to help them in over-coming the scorching heat. A security company in Verulam also provided a first aid station to assist those overcome by the heat.
One of the officials and chairman of the Alayam, Dr Chandru Kisten, said the large turn out of the people at the Kavady ceremony demonstrated that the people of Indian-origin were proud of the spirituality, traditions, languages and cultures bequeathed to them by their indentured forefathers and mothers. "We find that in addition to the regulars, thousands of others are becoming more and more conscious of their spirituality, cultures, languages and traditions and want to pass this onto their children and grand-children," he said.
He said all linguistic groups participated in the Kavady. They included those whose mother tongues were Tamil, Hindi, and Gujerati. "We have found that in addition to the devotees, there are a number of other people, including those in businesses, help in making this Kavady ceremony a magnanimous success.
"We are truly grateful to all the people who realise that it's of utmost importance for us to promote the rich spirituality, traditions, languages and cultures of our ancestors." A volunteer at the Kavady ceremony, Mr Barry Naicker, said it was wonderful atmosphere to see so many thousands of people participating in the Kavady ceremony. "This just demonstrates that we must be proud of our rich traditions, languages and cultures in our new, non-racial democratic counry. "Our cultures go back tens of thousands of years and we must cherish this," he said. - ends (Subry Govender Jan 24 2016)

Sunday, January 24, 2016


By Subry Govender
(Dr A P J Kalam) SPIRITUAL BOOK A spiritual book written by the late former President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, will be launched in Johannesburg on Saturday, January 30. The book, Transcendence, will be launched by the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in South Africa. The Johannesburg launch is one of several international events taking place in different parts of the world. Similar events in the African continent will take place in countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The co-author of Transcendence, Professor Arun Tiwari, and a senior spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayam Sanstha, Pujya Bramavihari Swami, who was a close friend of Dr Kalam, will be special guests at the Johannesburg launch. Mr Harnish Patel, a spokesperson for the BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Mission in South Africa, said the launch of the book, Transcendence, would be to honour the legacy of Dr Kalam who dedicated his life to public service and the development of India as a country. He said the book, Transcendence, which was Dr Kalam's final book out of a total of 30 he had written during his life-time, was "a gift to mankind". "Transcendence documents a 14-year journey between Dr Kalam and His Holiness, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, who carries forward a legacy of enlightened gurus that goes back to the early nineteenth century, " said Mr Patel. "Throughout his remarkable career, Dr. Kalam wrote over 30 books and is considered to be one of India’s most widely read and best-selling authors. In Transcendence, Dr Kalam’s writings focus on the philosophical and spiritual guidance from Pramukh Swami Maharaj that shaped his purpose and direction in serving India. "Most astonishing about their profound friendship is that Dr Kalam was not conversant in Gujarati, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s native language, and Pramukh Swami does not speak English. "Despite the language barrier, they were able to transcend communication challenges. The resulting bond, built on selfless service and sustained through common interest, was life changing for Dr. Kalam and is thoughtfully articulated in his writing", said Mr Patel. Mr Patel said Dr. Kalam's Transcendence explored "one man’s journey to discover universal truths, unlock the science behind progress, and understand the critical role of spirituality in leading India forward". "He narrates his visits to historic sites worldwide, religious and secular, while reflecting on the various moments of divinity he experiences along the way." Mr Patel said Dr Kalam wrote in his book that it was in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj that his spirituality truly flourished. "Dr. Kalam describes Pramukh Swami Maharaj as 'my ultimate teacher'. He wrote, 'Pramukh Swamiji shared with me many times his wish for peace, development, security and prosperity in the world'. "He feels that Indian people’s kindness, openness, tolerance and willingness to engage in dialogue is inbuilt in our civilizational heritage. He firmly believes in the potential of the Indian people to co-build a harmonious world where there is permanent peace, shared prosperity, cooperation and a 'win-win' with all other countries. "Dr Kalam's vision for a brighter India is found in this book." Dr Kalam, who hails from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was a space scientist who helped launch India's first satellite vehicle, Rohini. He became the eleventh president of India in 2002 and became popularly known as the "people's president" because of his struggles to bridge the gap between India's people and the government. Dr Kalam, who was was born in the temple town of Rameswaram, served as President for five years until 2007. He died in July last year at the age of 84. (The Johannesburg launch of the book will take place the Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown.) ends - Subry Govender Jan 24 January 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016


(Srivathi Raman and Kantham Subramoney who participated in the Pongal festival at the Berkloo Temple in Johannesburg on Sunday, January 17 (2016) BY SUBRY GOVENDER The Pongal festival in South Africa on Sunday, January 17 (2016) attracted a large number of young people. These two girls, Srivathi Raman and Kantham Subramoney, took part in a festival at the Berkloo Temple in Johannesburg. Srivathi (6) is the daughter of Mr Aubrey Raman and Mrs Sandy Raman, and Kantham (8) is the daughter of Mr Kennedy Pregarsen Subramoney and Mrs Nelliandrie Subramoney. The two little girls attend Bharatha Natyam classes at weekends. Both families take a great deal of pride in promoting their cultures, traditions, languages and music in the Johannesburg region, which today is inhabited by a high concentration of young people who have migrated to the city from Durban and other cities in KwaZulu-Natal after the advent of our new democratic and non-racial order in 1994. Both Aubrey Raman, Sandy, Kennedy and Nelliandrie hail from the town of Verulam, which at one time prior to 1994, boasted a large population of people of Indian-origin. The Pongal festival in South Africa is an occasion for people of South Indian-origin to emphasise and promote their rich cultures, languages, values, music and traditions that they have inherited from their forefathers and mothers. Their ancestors were brought to the former British Natal Colony to work as indentured labourers (slaves) on sugar estates owned by white farmers. They toiled on the sugar plantations to build a new life for themselves and today number more than 55 percent of the 1,5-million people of Indian-origin in South Africa. The descendants of indentured labourers have participated in the liberation struggles since the early 1890s in the Natal Indian Congress and later in the African National Congress and other organisations. Today most of the people of Indian-origin have moved out of the sugar estates and have worked themselves out of poverty to become doctors, teachers, lawyers. clerks, and business people in all sectors of life. A large percentage of young people have moved out of the KwaZulu-Natal province and moveD to the Johannesburg-Pretoria region, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and other parts of the country. A large number of doctors, teachers, accountants have also migrated to many countries around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States. England, and other countries in Europe. Some have also moved to India. Most people of Indian-origin regard South Africa as their homeland and take great pride in promoting and observing their rich cultures, traditions, music and languages all over the country. South Africa boasts the culture of "unity in diversity". ENDS - SUBRY GOVENDER (JAN 18 2016)

Sunday, January 17, 2016


(Members of the Sivan Sabhay in Verulam and visitors celebrating Pongal at their cultural centre in Brindahavan, Verulam, on Sunday, Janaury 17 2016) RICH TRADITIONS AND CULTURES OF INDENTURED LABOURERS PROMOTED
By Subry Govender The age-old Pongal festival, which is celebrated in all its glory and colour in south India and the Tamil diaspora in more than 70 countries, has also been marked by people of south Indian-origin in South Africa. The Pongal, which this year started on Thursday, January 14 and ended on Sunday, January 17, is a festival that is celebrated to give thanks for the rich harvest and all that nature provides for the people, especially in the villages. The Pongal festival, which used to be quite an occasion in the early days during and after the indenture period in the homes of south Indian-origin people in South Africa, was this year observed by temples and cultural societies, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and the Johannesburg region. The people of South Indian-origin in South Africa make up more than 55 percent of the estimated 1.5-million people of Indian-origin in the country.
One of the organisations that observed the Pongal festival with wonderful songs and dances on Sunday, January 17, was the Sivan Sabhay cultural society in Brindahavan, Verulam, north of Durban. The members and visitors of Sivan Sabhay, like other organisations, demonstrated, with their participation, that they valued the culture and traditions of their forefathers and mothers.
One of the guest speakers, Mr Linga Govender, gave an account of how his parents and grand-parents celebrated Pongal when he was growing up in the farming area of Inanda in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. "We all used to be given new clothes on the first day of Pongal and then joined our family members in singing the beautiful songs for this occasion", he said. "We all used to shout out: 'Pongala Pongal'. "I remember my mother and grand-mother cooking the sweet porridge that used to be shared with family members and neighbours. My grand-mother used to make garlands and put them round the necks of the cows that we had on the farm. She even used to feed the cows with the sweet porridge. "It was really a wonderful period in our lives and we as the new generation must continue to pay our tributes to our forefathers and mothers by continuing to observe our rich traditions and cultures," he said.
The chairman of Sivan Sabhay, Mr Tim Govender, paid tribute to the young people who had participated in the function and called on them to continue to be involved in the rich traditions and cultures of their ancestors. He said since the Pongal festival was about celebrating the rich harvest of vegetables and fruits, the people in South Africa must also pray for bountiful rain during this period of drought. "We need plenty of rain so that we too can celebrate not only the harvest of vegetables and fruits, but also the cows and other animals that we owe so much to. The cows and other animals must be treated with respect and gratitude," he said.
(The images of Tamil prophets and the Lingam inside the Temple at Sivan Sabhay) The Sivan Sabhay in Verulam, which was established in the 1980s, has come a long way since its humble beginings in the then small town. Through the hard work of its pioneers, especially Mr Bob Kisten, Mr Billy Kisten and other officials, the Siven Sabhay today boasts a beautiful temple and hall in the residential area of Brindahavan of Verulam. The officials and members are proud that they have established a rich legacy for the younger generation to continue to observe and promote their centuries-old cultures, traditions, music and languages. One of the officials told me: "Our Tamil language is considered to be the oldest language in the world and we must do everything in our power to ensure that our children continue to promote and observe our Tamil language and our cultures, traditions and music." - ends - Subry Govender January 17 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Subry Govender Podcast 2 - Nkandla Update

Nkandla Update in September 2015

Subry Govender Podcast 1 - Mrs Anandhee Sasitharan of Sri Lanka

This is the life of a Sri Lankan human rights activist who has been struggling to secure the release of her husband from the hands of the Sri Lankan security for more than a decade. She was one of the delegates who attended a Sri Lankan freedom conference for Tamils in Durban late in October 2015.

The plight of the Aged Oct 11 2013

Aged Script October 11 2013 INTRO: At a time when international focus is on the care of the aged or senior citizens - in South Africa a series of programmes are being held to highlight the need for the health and welfare of senior citizens. Senior citizens organisations and associations - with the co-operation of the Government - are holding month-long events and functions to honour the aged. Subry Govender attended some of the events and reports on just how South Africa as a country fares in the Care of the Aged......