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.