Kathrada has to sidestep poo on Resistance Park tour

2016-04-22 01:00
Ahmed Kathrada at the Resistance Park in Umbilo, Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

Ahmed Kathrada at the Resistance Park in Umbilo, Durban. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Durban - Struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada had to sidestep piles of human excrement while on a walkabout in Durban's Resistance Park on Friday.

The park, and a monument to the Passive Resistance Campaign launched by the Natal Indian Congress in 1946, have fallen into disrepair.

Large sections of the palisade fence have been stolen, and the monument has become a toilet for local vagrants. The stench pervades the area.

Pieces of the marble facade had been pulled off. Kathrada, who was told to watch his step as he walked between the friezes, shrugged off the shocking state of the monument.

"I see the historical significance of this place, whether it is a stone or a building, or an open piece of ground. As long as the history is acknowledged," he said.

Kathrada would not be drawn to comment on current politics. He spoke about the history of the site.

"The first passive resistance campaign after Gandhi left took place here in defiance of the Ghetto Act. They [Indian protesters] all set up tents here and courted imprisonment," he said.

eThekwini municipality governance and international relations head Eric Apelgren was quick to justify the parlous state of the park before the walkabout started.

"We have established a working team with our Parks Department to upgrade the whole precinct," he said.

"We want to include the local community to look at the ongoing sustainability of the site. We are also looking at getting other local businesses to come on board and partner with us," he added.

Former President Nelson Mandela opened the park in 2002. 

(Jeff Wicks, News24)

Read more on:    ahmed kathrada  |  durban

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