Liberation struggle veteran Moonsamy honoured at Durban funeral

2017-06-24 14:07

Durban - Former Member of Parliament, anti-apartheid activist and Rivonia trialist Kesval ''Kay'' Moonsamy, was honoured at a special provincial funeral service in Durban on Saturday.

Moonsamy died on Wednesday at the age of 90 and was one of the last surviving Rivonia trialists.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was among the organisations and individuals who paid tribute to Moonsamy, describing him as a man who sacrificed greatly in the struggle against apartheid.

''He was a lifelong activist, who displayed great dedication to the struggle for freedom,'' said Neeshan Balton, the foundation's executive director.

He noted that Moonsamy was the son of an indentured labourer who left school at the age of 14 to work in a factory.

He became a unionist and by the age of 19 was president of the Natal Box, Broom and Brush Workers’ Union.

He was also a member of the SA Communist Party, the Natal Indian Congress and the African National Congress.

Moonsamy was also amongst the 156 individuals arrested for high treason in 1956. 

SA History Online said the charges against him were withdrawn and he left South Africa to go into exile.

He was out of the country for 26 years, and only saw his wife and children 15 years after he first left the country, said Bolton.

He added that Moonsamy stayed active, and in 2016 accompanied his old friend, the late Ahmed Kathrada, for a visit to the Passive Resistance Park in Durban, 70 years after the launch of 1946 campaign.  The campaign attempted to resist the extremely inhumane treatment and laws directed at Indian people in South Africa at the time.

Kathrada was a mere 17 at the time of the campaign, and Moonsamy was 20.

President Jacob Zuma said Moonsamy was one of the few remaining elders who contributed immensely in the liberation struggle for our freedom and democracy.

"We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Moonsamy family and relatives, our prayers and thoughts are with them in this difficult period. May his soul rest in peace," he said.


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