Struggle veteran Phyllis Naidoo dies

2013-02-15 09:18
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Johannesburg - Struggle veteran and author Phyllis Naidoo has died, the ANC said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Keith Khoza said the 85-year-old activist died on Thursday. Further information was not immediately available.

The Daily News reported on Thursday that Naidoo died of heart failure at the Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital.

She was cremated, according to her wishes, at a private crematorium.

Born in Escourt


The African National Congress said it was saddened by her death.

"The ANC dips its flag in honour of Comrade Phyllis Naidoo."

Achmat Dangor, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, also sent condolences.

"On behalf of our founder, trustees and staff we send our condolences to the family, comrades and friends of the late Phyllis Naidoo, a fearless fighter against apartheid."

Naidoo was born in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal on 5 January 1928.

Later in her life, she joined the Natal Indian Congress and became involved with the SA Communist Party.

She and her husband helped fellow activists to get out of the country. Naidoo was banned by the apartheid government in 1966.

The next year, her husband was imprisoned on Robben Island and she was placed under house arrest.
She studied law during that time and qualified as a lawyer in 1973.

Activists who had been released from Robben Island went to Naidoo to find employment.

At one stage, she employed five ex-Robben Island detainees, including President Jacob Zuma, as messengers at her law firm.

Struggle fighter


In 1977, Naidoo escaped to Lesotho where she was involved in welfare work and assisted the ANC and SACP.

She moved to Zimbabwe in 1983, and returned to South Africa only in 1990.

Naidoo wrote seven books, including the Footsteps series and Le rona re batho: an account of the 1982 Maseru Massacre.

Describing her as a champion for non-racialism and justice, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said it mourned her loss.

"Her contribution to South Africa’s liberation and preserving its legacy are beyond question," said its executive director Neeshan Balton.

Veteran South African politician, former political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada said he would remember Naidoo as a fighter, and committed to the struggle.

"She continued her work with selflessness and compassion almost until the day she died," he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  durban

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