PROFESSOR JERRY COOVADIA – A SENIOR OFFICIAL OF THE NATAL INDIAN CONGRESS AND A COMMITTED ANTI-APARTHEID ACTIVIST
RADIO DOCUMENTARY ON HIS LIFE AND POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT AND VIEWS COMPILED IN SEPTEMBER 2008
BY SUBRY GOVENDER
(Prof Jerry Coovadia with Judge Thumba Pillay at a meeting of the Active Citizens Movement, which was established by activists to work with the ANC)
In September 2008, I had embarked on a programme to interview former struggle stalwarts about their concerns with the failure of the new non-racial and democratic government to tackle issues such as poverty, unemployment, violent crime, social and economic marginalisation of the majority of the people and political greed.
Along with Professor Coovadia, I had also spoken to Bishop Rubin Philip, Paul Devadas David, Roy Padaychie, Sunny Singh, Mewa Ramgobin and Siva Naidoo on this issue. I had also spoken to another struggle stalwart, A S Chetty, of Pietermaritzburg who I interviewed in 1998. He passed on two years later in September 2000 at the age of 72. His views answered some of the questions that I posed to in 2008.
The period I spoke to the activists and leaders in 2008 was around a time when another struggle veteran, Professor Fatima, had expressed her disappointment with the manner in which the post-apartheid government was failing in its duties to unite all the people in the struggles against growing social and economic divide among the people.
I spoke to Professor Hoosen Jerry Coovadia at a time when he was one of the country’s foremost health academics, international HIV-AIDs scientist and a former well-known activist of the Natal Indian Congress and the United Democratic Front (UDF).
Professor Coovadia was forthright in his views about the social, economic and political prevalent in 2008. He was very critical at that time with the acute lack of political leadership, widespread political divisions within the ruling ANC, high rate of fraud and corruption, runaway violent crime, student uprisings at universities for the scrapping of fees, lack of service delivery by officials at national, provincial and local government, growing unemployment, poverty, inequality and lack of growth in the economy. This is the radio feature I had compiled in September 2008 after speaking to Professor Coovadia. I will publish the Radio Documentaries of the other activists following this documentary on Professor Coovadia.