‘Aunt Phil’ dies

2013-02-14 16:55

Anti-apartheid struggle veteran, author and activist Phyllis Naidoo died in Durban last night.

Naidoo, popularly known as “Aunt Phil”, had been on a ventilator for several weeks after slipping into a coma.

The Order of Luthuli honour was conferred on the acid-tongued 85-year-old by president Thabo Mbeki in 2003.

A veteran of the ANC’s defiance campaign, Naidoo was banned by the apartheid regime for 10 years in 1966 and placed under house arrest for a further five.

Her husband, lawyer Mooroogiah Dhanapathy Naidoo, was also an activist in the Natal Indian Congress and ANC. He was jailed from 1967 to 1972 on Robben Island.

A lawyer by profession, Naidoo ran a practice in Durban’s Grey Street area before going into exile in neighbouring Lesotho in 1977.

She also worked for the ANC in Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

One of her sons, Sahdhan, was assassinated by an apartheid hit-squad in 1989 on an ANC farm in Zambia.

Her other son Shah died shortly after her return from exile in 1990.

An outspoken, principled human rights activist, Naidoo was highly critical of the consumerism and corruption of many of her former comrades.

She is survived by her daughter Sukhti and grandsons Buck and Louis, who live in Cape Town.

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