Raj: Funeral draws 1000

2012-01-03 00:00

POLITICIANS, family, friends and followers of Amichand Rajbansi said a final farewell on Saturday.

As the strains of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger softened, a band led the way with a slow march to the main tent, trailed by Rajbansi’s coffin draped in the South African flag and followed by his family, friends and political allies.

The rain pelted down as the funeral began on Saturday morning in Chatsworth Stadium, Durban, causing most of the crowd to move to shelter.

An elderly woman in a maroon sari with just a shawl refused to move. “Rajbansi did a lot,” she said. “He deserves it that I sit in the rain. I’m not moving from here until 4 o’clock!”

About 1 000 mourners took shelter in the corners of the stadium and the stands. Also in attendance were Cyril Xaba, advisor to the premier, Visvin Reddy, former member of the Minority Front, former eThekwini municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe, deputy speaker of the KZN Legislature Mtholephi Mthimkhulu and senior members of the Hare Krishna temple.

Rajbansi’s ex-wife, Asha Devi, did not attend the funeral.

Tearful tributes were delivered by Rajbansi’s daughters, Vimleika and Vimlesh, and his son Vimal.

Honey Allee, a nurse and HIV activist whom Rajbansi approached to start an Aids education initiative, said: “I’ll never forget him. While he was a strategist, he was human and he was a man who fought for the underprivileged. [He fought] to help educate and capacitate his people.

“He never lost his focus, which was to highlight the needs of the minority groups. His legacy will live on.”

 

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