Obituary: Kersh Dookran, activist

2011-03-24 00:00

POLITICAL activist and a stalwart of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement in Pietermaritzburg, Keshwarduth (Kersh)Dookran died recently after suffering a stroke. He was 73.

Dookran’s activism started in the 1960s. His niece, Ujala Satgoor, said there were several events that triggered his political consciousness. One was because he was denied an apprenticeship in the motor industry because of his race.

A friend at Terry’s Photo, where Dookran worked, introduced him to the Communist Party publication, The New Age. Satgoor said the imposition of the Group Areas Act in 1965 when the family were forced to leave their home in Plessislaer within 10 days had a huge impact on shaping his activism. He joined the Monday Forum, a think tank of the Natal Indian Congress, which aimed to formulate a theoretical understanding of politics and the liberation struggle.

He was always a quiet presence at meetings, but behind the scenes he was a hard-working foot soldier. He was active in the anti-Tricameral campaign, the formation of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and civic movements in the city.

A younger generation of activists remember his gentle smile, his house that was always open for visits and meetings and his sense of humour.

The ANC Mayor of uMgungundlovu district, Yusuf Bhamjee, described him as a cadre who conducted himself with dignity and humility.

Dookran was a member of the AA for 14 years, having joined in 1997. His activism saw him work amongst socially disadvantaged communities. He was a founder member of the Copesville AA chapter. He worked with AA groups in the midlands and contributed to the establishment and upkeep of the Panorama Recovery Centre, as well as attending AA conventions here and overseas.

 

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