Saturday, July 7, 2018

A road named after Lenny Naidu (ANC Political Activist) in South Africa

Surendra “Lenny” Naidu was a fighter of the underground struggle as a member of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, a student activist and a hero to many.

Naidu dedicated his life to advancing the idea of non-racialism and unity, fighting tirelessly for South African freedom and striving to improve the quality of life of all people.

Naidu was born on April 12, 1964 to Leo Naidu and Neela Naidu in Malvern, Queensburgh. His  Kammavar Naidu forefathers were migrated from North Arcot district of Composite Madras state, India to Queensburgh. 

The Group Areas Act of 1950 meant the Naidu family were forced to relocate.

They settled in Bayview, Chatsworth, in the late 1960s.

Naidu was a pupil at Fairhaven Primary School and Chatsworth Secondary School.

He matriculated in 1981 before registering at the then University of Durban-Westville for a BA degree in 1982.

Within his first year of university, Naidu became a founder of the Helping Hands Youth Movement, a cause that actively tackled the concerns of South Africans.

Helping Hands is where he began to involve himself in developing his community and started to take an interest in the challenges facing his peers.

Naidu served as the secretary of the Bayview Residents Association.

Under the banner of the Chatsworth Housing Action Committee (CHAC), Naidu formed bonds with other community organisations that the committee closely worked with.

As a member of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC), he participated in all their campaigns and strived to forward the NIC’s goal for equal rights for all.

He firmly opposed the tricameral elections of 1984.

Naidu attended the launch of Cosatu in 1985 and this enlightened him on the difficulties experienced by working class people.

Thereafter he became involved in raising funds for employees who were unfairly dismissed by the British Tyre and Rubber’s Sarmcol factory.

In November 1986, Naidu became a member of the ANC and contributed to the underground struggle by joining Umkhonto we Sizwe.

He was subjected to constant harassment from the police, which forced him into exile.

He departed for Lusaka, where he would receive further instructions, before reporting to Angola for military training.

In May 1988, Naidu left Angola to head home. He made his way to Zambia before catching a flight from Mozambique that would see him land in Swaziland.

Naidu continued to reside in Swaziland as he awaited orders on how he would go about infiltrating South Africa.

On June 8, 1988 Naidu and MK comrades Makhosi Nyoka, Lindiwe Mthembu and Nontskilelo June Rose Cotoza were gunned down near Piet Retief in an ambush co-ordinated by former police colonel, torturer and assassin under the command of the apartheid government, Eugene de Kock.

Lenny Naidu's mother Neela Naidu 

Jurie Denver, of the Lenny Naidu Institute, said: “Young as he was, he left such a significant legacy. His unwavering contribution to the liberation struggle truly deserved recognition. It’s part of our rich history and we are proud of him.” In 2006, Naidu's friends rallied together to honour his life and the sacrifices he made by starting the Lenny Naidu Development Institute, to focuses on youth development. 

A powerful play commemorating the life of Lenny Naidu is staged in the Playhouse Drama Theatre in Durban and other cities of South Africa. Written and narrated by Jayshree Parasuramen and starring Rahul Brijnath, Lenny tells a story about a man who gave his life to the struggle for freedom of the people of South Africa.
Lenny Naidu sisters 'Amsha Naidu at Lenny Naidu Drive

Greater recognition for Naidu’s bold efforts came almost three years later when Bayview’s main street (formerly Pelican Drive) was renamed Lenny Naidu Drive is next to Bayview and is located in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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