Kholvad Political Activists

Dr Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo was born on 5 September 1909 in Krugersdorp. His father Hajee Mohamed Mamoojee Dadoo arrived in South Africa in 1896 and by 1904 opened his own business, M. M Dadoo (PTY) LTD in Krugersdorp.

At the age of 15 Yusuf set forth his first political campaign by mobilising support for a meeting to oppose the Class Areas Bill of 1923. The meeting was well attended and Dadoo delivered a speech calling for opposition to the Bill. A prolific political career had begun.

In 1927, Dadoo matriculated from Aligarh Muslim College in India, and 1929 went to study in London. He joined the London branch of the Indian National Congress. A few months later he was arrested for demonstrating against the imperialist Simons Commission. Out of concern for his education, and in an attempt to tame his activist nature, his father insisted that he continue to study in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In Edinburg, Dadoo became involved in a number of political activities, which introduced him to socialist literature. These works entrenched in him an ideology that acknowledged the class struggle and its role in a revolutionary movement. The appeal for a “united” front against fascism grew on Dadoo, and this notion was reinforced by his activities which advocated unity of the oppressed people of the world.

Dadoo qualified as a doctor in 1936 and returned to practice in South Africa. His work as a doctor exposed him to the socio-economic impact of the racist regime, and he wrote:

“I came across the poverty, the misery, the malnutrition… And that made one’s blood boil. What can one do to help these people? Medicine is one thing – you give a few tablets or a mixture – but it doesn’t go to the basis of the problem. That had a great deal to do with my thinking and I got into political struggle. ”

It was in this context that Dadoo’s leadership emerged, to free South Africa from the bonds of racism, colonialism and capitalism. The fact that he saw the unification of the national liberation and working class movement as central to overthrow these forces, the alliance amongst the oppressed became his key concern. In 1938 Dadoo was one of the founders of the Non-European United Front.

Dadoo’s contribution as a national leader in the struggle to achieve the liberation of all the people of South Africa has been immense. He was a selfless, progressive and fearless leader who was defiant, determined and unwavering in his efforts to destroy the evil systems of apartheid and fight against economic exploitation. He was pivotal and instrumental in forging unity between the oppressed masses.

In 1947, Dr Xuma, Dr Dadoo and Dr Naicker signed the historic “Doctors Pact” of unity between the African and Indian Congresses.

Dadoo formed the nationalist block in the Transvaal Indian Congress to transform it from moderate insular body to a mass militant organisation. In 1950 he became the President of the South African Indian Congress and soon after joined the ANC in the Defiance Campaign. In 1955 the Congress Alliance convened the Congress of the People, which adopted the historic Freedom Charter. At the meeting Dadoo was bestowed with “Isithwalandwe”, the highest award given by the ANC for outstanding contribution to the struggle for freedom.

Dadoo was an internationalist in every sense of the word. He loved India, the former Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic and Cuba. He had close political and personal relations with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and many other leaders in Africa and Asia.

He was a generous, genial personality with a good sense of humour. Dadoo loved the progressive aspects of Indian culture, music, art, literature and Urdu poetry. He was an avid follower of cricket and soccer and when time allowed he would attend Test cricket at Lords.

During the years 1939 to 1942, Dadoo served as the Chairman of the Madressa Anjuman Islamia of Kholvad. He played a significant role in having the property at 27 Market Street developed, establishing the scholarship fund and promoting the rights of females to education. He was also instrumental in having the school built in Kholvad.

Dadoo expressed clear views on the direction that the Madressa should take in achieving its objectives and aims. It is evident from the excerpts from MAIK Minutes when he was Chairmen he emphasized certain key areas; education, social responsibility, unity and the position and contribution of the Kholvadian community as part of a larger broader society. Consistent with his general views about a broader humanity and unity amongst people of the world, Dadoo was adamant that the Madressa and the South African Kholvadian community in particular cannot isolate themselves from the broader community and function only to achieve narrow and exclusive goals and aims.

“To isolate ourselves from the national and international development of Society would be nothing short of suicidal. We can no longer afford to remain narrow, sectarian and fanatical… We must cultivate that healthy and progressive national outlook, which alone can lead us to our salvation… We must think of Kholvad not as an entity in itself, but as part, however infinitesimal, of the great whole which is India. In South Africa, too, it is criminal to identify ourselves as Kholvadians only, we belong to, and are part of, the great South African community…” -1942 Chairman’s address- Minutes of MAIK.

On the question of promoting women’s education in particular, Dadoo felt strongly: “No country or community in the world could wish to make progress until and unless the women folk are educated to take their rightful place and share in all spheres of life and activity of the nation. “Educate our sisters” should be one of our main slogans. ” – 1941 Chairman’s address – Minutes of MAIK.

In the same Chairman’s address, Dadoo emphasized the need for unity. “My message to you is to carry on the magnificent work of this institution with mutual understanding and cooperation. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Unity is fundamentally essential. There is bound to be a difference of opinion on many points but if we all work with one aim of furthering the interest of the institution in the best possible manner then, I am sure, no barrier can prevent us from achieving our objectives”.

Dadoo was a fierce fighter against all forms of discrimination, sectarianism and exclusivism. His contribution to the creation and promotion of unity is immeasurable. He sought no cheap popularity, did not actively canvass for positions of leadership and always put the interest of the struggle first.

At the time of his death Dr Dadoo was national chairman of the SACP, vice chairman of the ANC Politico Military Council, member of the ANC Revolutionary Council and a member of the Presidential Committee of the World Peace Council.

Dadoo together with Mandela, Sisulu, Tambo and Kotane constitute icons of our struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist democratic and prosperous South Africa. Yusuf was a great patriot, a great freedom fighter, a great internationalist. Dadoo always said he should be remembered as a humble musket bearer.

Yusuf Dadoo passed away in exile of prostate cancer on 19 September 1983 and is buried at the Highgate cemetery in London.

Hajee Mohamed Mamoojee Dadoo

During 1915, the late Hajee Mohamed Mamoojee Dadoo, in order to circumvent the law that prevented Asians from owning land in the then Transvaal, formed a company, bought land and started trading. The shareholding of 150 shares was made up of 149 shares held by Hajee Dadoo and one by a Mr Dindar. The Municipality of Krugersdorp prosecuted him and the matter was taken to the highest court in South Africa, namely the Appellate Division. The Appellate Division decided that a company is distinct from an individual or a group of individuals and that it forms a separate person from shareholders of a company. The court decided that the company, even though its shareholders may be Asians, cannot be described as an Asiatic one and held that the statutory prohibition did not apply to Companies even though their shares were held by Asians. Judge Innes said: “A registered company is a legal persona distinct from the members who compose it”. This made legal history throughout the world and today the legal principles enunciated in the case are quoted in South African courts. The approach was novel and showed tremendous foresight on the part of Hajee Dadoo. He had the tenacity and temerity to take the case to the highest court in the land.

I Wadee

The home of Mr. A. I. Wadee in Nugget Street not only served guests during the apartheid period, but a number of significant activities unfolded at this residence. The planning of the 1946 Gold Mine Strikes and numerous meetings of the Congress Movement took place here. The President of the African National Congress (ANC) and later the first State President of a free and democratic South Africa, Mr. Nelson Mandela was harboured at this residence when he went into hiding to build the underground structures of the ANC. The secret meetings were often attended by such great stalwarts of the liberation movement as, (apart from those attended by Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu) Albert Luthuli, Moses Kotane, J. B. Marks, Joe Slovo, Rusty Bernstein and Michael Harmel. The final draft of the Freedom Charter was settled at this residence of the Wadee Family. In his letter dated 19th November 1989, written from prison to the Wadee Family that their residence should be declared a National Heritage site. Unfortunately this could not be done because by the time of his release from prison, the property had been expropriated by the City Council of Johannesburg and completely demolished[1].

Suliman “Babla” Saloojee was born on 5 February 1931 in the small town of Belfast in the then eastern Transvaal, now Mpumalanga. Babla was compelled to leave home in order to gain a basic education in Johannesburg. After completing his education he worked as a legal clerk, but often presented himself as a qualified lawyer when his comrades were in trouble with the police. This enabled him to trace the whereabouts of detainees, obtain legal assistance and arrange for essential provisions to be delivered to them.

Babla joined the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) and the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress (TIYC) in the late 1940’s and became a well-known figure in the Congress Movements. During the 1950s, he was a member of the Picasso Club, along with Ahmed Kathrada, Mosie Moolla, Suliman Essakjee, Abdulhay Jassat and Farid Adams. The group was named after the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. They spent many nights writing political slogans on strategic public spaces and putting up political posters.

Babla volunteered and participated in the major anti-apartheid marches and the campaigns for the defiance of unjust laws. He helped smuggle a number of political activists out of the country and in 1963 he assisted his close friends Abdulhay Jassat and Mosie Moolla to escape from Johannesburg’s Marshall Square Police station and into exile via Botswana.

On the night of his engagement to Rookaya ‘Rookie’ Adam in 1961, he was detained. They were later married on 1 July 1962. In February 1964 he was served with a banning order. On 6 July 1964 Babla, along with Ahmed Essop “Quarter” Khota, was arrested and taken to Marshall Square police station. Rookie recalls that the last time she saw him he had a bandage on his head. When she tried to inquire as to what had happened the visit was cut short. It is widely believed that on 9 September 1964 he was severely tortured, killed and thrown out of the seventh floor window (a height of 20m) from Grey’s Building, the Special Branch headquarters in Johannesburg. Babla was the fourth person to die in police custody.

The inquest found that the cause of death was unknown, but to this day a suspicion lingers that he was murdered. The most emotive and heartfelt tribute to Babla was written by his close friend Ahmed Kathrada:

“Suliman Saloojee, my dearest friend Babla, was dead, killed by the police. This most gentle of men, this inveterate prankster, my comrade and source of strength, had been picked up under the ninety-day detention law, brutally interrogated and tortured to death – by the sadistic General ’Rooi Rus’ Swanepoel – then flung from a window on the seventh floor of Grey’s Building, Johannesburg headquarters of the security police, on Wednesday 9 September 1964.

“Not surprisingly, the so-called inquest accepted the police version that Babla had committed suicide by jumping to his death.

“I have never doubted, however, that he died under interrogation, and that his body was then thrown out of the window. The magistrate found that; ‘nothing in the evidence suggested that Saloojee had been assaulted or that methods of interrogating him were in any way irregular. ’ He found that no one was to blame for his death. ” (Kathrada 2004)[2]

The Pahads

Amina and Goolam Pahad were renowned for their contribution to the struggle against racism and apartheid and for their generosity, humanity, warmth and friendship.

Goolam was a leading figure in the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) and the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) in the 1940’s and 50’s. He participated in many meetings that lead to an alliance of the Indian Congresses and the ANC. He played a key role, for many decades, in the work of the South African branch of Madressa Anjuman Islamia of Kholvad. He was arrested and imprisoned during the State of Emergency in 1960.

Amina was a dedicated freedom fighter who courted imprisonment three times, twice during the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign and once during the 1952 Defiance Campaign. At the time of her imprisonment in 1952, their youngest son Zunaid was only 15 months old!

In his memoirs Ahmed Kathrada writes: “Aminabai was an exceptional person, warm, friendly, always smiling, generous, compassionate and hospitable to a fault. Her hard work and hospitality became legendry among the countless friends, family members and political colleagues- many of whom were strangers-who visited the Pahads from all over South Africa. The generosity, kindness and hospitality of the Pahad family were unprecedented. There was almost never a mealtime when non-family members did not arrive unexpectedly, and, as if by magic, an ever-smiling Aminabai would rustle up enough delicious victuals to feed us all. ”

Both Amina and Goolam were held in high regard and esteem by leaders of the ANC such as Chief Luthuli, O. R Tambo, Walter Sisulu, J. B Marks, Moses Kotane, Robert Resha and Nelson Mandela. In his auto biography Mandela wrote: “I often visited the home of Amina Pahad for lunch, and then, suddenly, this charming woman put aside her apron and went to jail for her beliefs. If I had once questioned the willingness of the Indian community to protest against oppression, I no longer could”. In her biography of Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Eleanor Sisulu wrote: “Goolam and Amina Pahad at Orient house also provided a home away from home in the City Centre. ”

Dr. Yusuf Dadoo an icon of the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, anti-racist struggle in our country was a very close family friend of Goolam and Amina Pahad. When Mota or Uncle Doc, as he was fondly called started his campaign to turn the Indian Congress into mass militant organisations he inspired and motivated Goolam and Amina to be part of that noble struggle.

In exile Essop and Aziz worked very closely with Dadoo in a number of structures of the ANC and SACP. They found him to be a brilliant strategist, deep thinker, disciplined, humble, modest with a lovely sense of humour and always ready to help them grow and mature as revolutionaries. His impact on their political development was exceptional.

Amina and Goolam had five sons; Ismail, Essop, Aziz, Naseem and Zunaid. Ahmed Kathrada was adopted as the sixth and eldest son! Kathy was a political mentor to the Pahad brothers.

Whilst studying and being involved politically, Aziz and Essop were banned, in January 1964 from all political activities as well as continuing their studies at Wits University. Under that obnoxious banning order they had to receive special permission from the infamous Minister of Justice BJ Vorster, to communicate with each other.

The brothers were forced to go into exile, leaving their family, comrades and friends behind. It was a gut-wrenching decision taken because of their commitment that the struggle had to be waged from outside the borders as well. In exile Aziz and Essop rose to prominence in the leadership of the ANC and SACP.

They continued studying and received political and military training as ANC, SACP and Umkhontowe-Sizwe cadres. In exile they worked with a very large number of activists and leaders of the South African liberation movements as well as the international Anti-Apartheid movement. Amongst the leaders that they had the privilege of and honour to work with are: O. R Tambo, Yusuf Dadoo, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Chris Hani, Joe Slovo, Joe Modise, Alfred Nzo, Duma Nokwe, Ruth Mompati, Frene Ginwala, Moses Mabidha, Ronnie Kasrils, Adelaide Tambo, Reg September, M. P Naicker, Alex La Guma and Kader Asmal.

Aziz served as an elected member of the NEC from the historic Kabwe conference between 1985 to December 2007. He also has an MA in international relations from the University of Sussex and Essop has and MA in African Politics and a PhD in history from the same university. Essop wrote a thesis “The Developments of Indian Political Movements in South Africa”, 1924-1946. He was also for many years a member of the Politburo and Central Committee of the SACP and the NEC of the ANC.

Following the 1994 democratic elections Aziz was appointed, by President Nelson Mandela as Deputy Foreign Minister. He occupied that position for 14 years until his resignation from government and Parliament in 2008. Essop was appointed as Parliamentary Counselor to Deputy President Thabo Mbeki in 1994. In 1996 Mandela appointed him as Deputy Minister in the office of Deputy President Thabo Mbeki. After the elections in 1999 Mbeki appointed Essop as Minister in the Presidency. Essop occupied that cabinet post until his resignation from government and Parliament in 2008.

On 20th April 2006 President Thabo Mbeki awarded Amina national Order, The Order of Luthuli, in Silver for her “excellent contribution to the struggle for Democracy, Equality and Justice in South Africa. ”

On 6 December 2012 President Zuma awarded a high military honour; The Military Veterans Decoration Medal in Platinum Class III to Isu Lalloo Chiba, Mavuso Msimang, Aziz and Essop Pahad for their contributions “to the organizational growth and fighting capacity of MK with total devotion, exemplary courage and self-sacrifice for freedom and democracy in South Africa. ”

Both of them were very good friends of Sulaiman ‘Babla’ Saloojee and Ahmed Timol who were brutally tortured and murdered by the apartheid security forces. With respect to the other brothers; Ismail was well known as the “Fordsburg Fox” for his contribution to professional soccer amongst blacks and for managing and guiding his beloved Dynamos Football Club to the professional ranks of South African football. Naseem was involved in the resuscitation of the TIC in the eighties and the launch of the UDF. Zunaid served two terms as an elected ANC local councillor in the Johannesburg Municipality.

The Pahad family has made a lifelong contribution to freedom and democracy and to the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. This publication in small measure records their legacy and contribution for posterity and that generations that follow will know that members of the Kholvad community contributed to freedom and democracy in our country.

Amongst the many Kholvadians that contributed to the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa we may mention a few. Amin Cajee, Salim Saleh, Sulaiman “Babla” Saloojee, Mosie Moola, Ahmed Timol, Mohammed Timol, Riaz Saloojee, Issy Dinath, Cassim Saloojee, Mohamed Tikley, Yusuf “Jo-Jo” Saloojee and Ahmed (Quarter) Khota.

Moosa Mohamed ‘Mosie’ Moolla

Moosa Mohamed ‘Mosie’ Moolla‎ was born on June 12th 1934 in Christiana (then Western Transvaal) to Mohamed Ahmed and Ayesha (Jeen) Moolla who had just emigrated from the Indian state of Gujarat.

‎Moolla joined the Congress Movement at the age of 15. As a schoolboy in 1952 he participated as a volunteer in the Defiance Campaign and was subsequently expelled from Johannesburg Indian High School‎. When Mosie was 20 years old he was elected as a Joint-Honorary Secretary of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress for nearly ten years. He later served as its Chairman and by the mid-1950’s was as a member of the‎ Executive Committee of the Transvaal Indian Congress. It was inevitable for Mosie, like the rest of his colleagues, to join the SACP and the Congress’ underground movement.

In December 1956, while Mosie was boarding with Sarabai and Goolam-bhai Mogalia at Flat number 5 in Kholvad House, he was arrested on allegations of High Treason, together with 155 other Congress activists from all sections of society and all walks of life. Among the accused were Chief Albert John Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo, Ruth First, Ahmed Kathrada, Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi and others. The Treason Trial lasted for nearly five years, and Moolla was among the 30 accused that stood trial for the entire duration. All the accused were subsequently acquitted.

Moolla was detained again during the Nationalist government’s countrywide sweep when they declared a state of emergency after the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960. In May 1963 he was among the first 14 South Africans to be detained under the notorious 90-day no-trial clause of the General Laws Amendment Act at Marshall Square Police Station in Johannesburg. Moola was to suffer further humiliation when the Security Branch re-detained him after having just completed the 90 day detention.

The possibility of further detentions without trial, forced Moolla and fellow detainees Abdulhay ‘Charlie’ Jassat, Arthur Goldreich and Harold Wolpe to organise an escape. They made a daring getaway after midnight in August 1963 and made their way to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) via Botswana where they joined the external mission of the ANC in Dar-as-Salaam. His duties for a number of years was as editor of the ANC’s weekly news journal; Spotlight on South Africa.

In 1965 he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and spent a year and a half in the USSR receiving specialised military training. On Moolla’s return to Tanzania he continued editing ‘Spotlight on South Africa’ both in Dar-as-Salaam and later in Lusaka, Zambia, where his late wife Zubeida joined him in exile.

In 1969 he was sent to work among South African students in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, and in 1972 joined the Asian Mission of the ANC in New Delhi as its Chief-Representative. A few years later (1978) he was posted to Cairo as the ANC’s Chief-Representative in Egypt and the Middle-East and concurrently ANC representative on the Permanent Secretariat of the Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organisation.

His years in exile were dedicated to the propagation of the South African cause for freedom and human dignity and to mobilise international support for the struggle against Apartheid. He represented the ANC at various meetings of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, and as a member of ANC delegations to Non-Aligned Movement Summits and solidarity events in various capitals of the world. Moolla was re-posted in 1982 to India and this time served as the ANC Chief-Representative. By 1989 he was posted to Helsinki, Finland, to serve as ANC Secretary on the Secretariat of the World Peace Council.

After the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela he returned to South Africa in November 1990 and joined the movement’s Department of International Affairs (DIA). He was a member of the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses delegation to the CODESA talks. He was on the list of ANC members of parliament during the first democratic elections in 1994.

Mosey became a highly respected member of the diplomatic corps and in 1995 ‎ he was the country’s first ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran. After a successful stint in Tehran, where Moolla had carved a sustainable and mutually economic relationship, he then forged a closer relationship between the years 2000 to 2004 as the South African High Commissioner to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

‎Mosie is now retired, but is active as a member of the ANC Political Education Unit.

Ahmed Timol

Ahmed Timol (Son of Hajee Yusuf Timol) was a schoolteacher at the Roodepoort Indian High School (RIHS) from 1963 – 1966 and from February 1970 until his death in October 1971.

Upon his return from London in February 1970, Timol was setting up underground cells for the banned Communist Party.

Police claimed that Timol was arrested at a routine roadblock on the 22nd of October 1971 when they found banned political literature in the boot of the car he was driving. He was taken to the notorious John Vorster Square Police Station for interrogation. 5 days later, police claimed that he had jumped to his death from the 10th floor and committed suicide.

Timol’s funeral on the 27th of October 1971 brought Roodepoort to a standstill as several thousand mourners attended his funeral. The inquest findings were that Timol had committed suicide and that nobody was responsible for his death. This was despite gruesome marks and bruises that were found on his body.

Former President Nelson Mandela renamed the Azaadville Secondary School the Ahmed Timol Secondary School on 29 March 1999 as was requested by Timol’s mother at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings in April 1996.

Timol was posthumously awarded the Luthuli award Silver for bravery in December 2009 by President Jacob Zuma.

Mohammed Timol

Mohammed Timol (brother of Ahmed Timol) was born in Breyten, in Eastern Transvaal, to Hajee Essop Timol and Hawa-bibi (Dindar) Timol. The family moved to Roodepoort then to Balfour in 1954, where Mohammed attended primary school before returning to Roodepoort where he obtained a matric. It was here that Mohammed’s political consciousness was awakened. He witnessed the wanton arrest of domestic workers in contravention of the Influx Control laws, and the daily occurrences of violence against black men for contravention the Pass Law.

Increasingly Mohammed’s political thoughts were being influenced by his elder brother, Ahmed, and his Islamic beliefs that implored him to fight injustice and inequality. In early June 1966, Mohammed aged 18, had his first brush with the law. It was the eve of the anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of South Africa. To mark the occasion, the Indian Education Department had set up a flag pole with the intention of raising the South African flag the next morning. Mohammed and six of his friends, went to the school at night, removed the flag pole and wrote slogans calling for the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Mandela and other political prisoners. A few days later, the security branch arrested them. They were physically beaten, a confession was elicited and the group was found guilty of anti-government activities and received a suspended sentence of one year.

In December 1966, Ahmed left for Hajj and eventually settled in London where he met up with other South African activists including Essop and Aziz Pahad. When Mohammed finished matric in 1967, Ahmed encouraged him to travel to London, which he subsequently did. Mohammed enrolled at the Polytechnic in Leicester September 1968. During this time he with other South African students were instrumental in inviting prominent leaders of the ANC such as Dr Dadoo and Essop Pahad to address the South African students in Leicester.

Mohammed graduated in 1970 and worked in the UK. The struggle internationally against the South African regime intensified and he participated in numerous demonstrations against apartheid and global injustice, including the 1969 South African Springbok rugby tour of the UK.

In February 1970, Ahmed returned to SA and became active in the underground structures. Before returning home, Mohammed received training in explosives, surveillance, and security, in London by MK leader, Jack Hodgson. He met with Dr Dadoo who gave final instructions and provided him with certain communication passwords to ensure that he would maintain contact with other operatives. On 30 September 1971, Mohammed returned to South Africa with fierce ambitions to participate in the liberation struggle. His first order would come from his mother, who was not impressed by his hippie look and marched him off to the local hairdresser.

The brothers were under close surveillance and three weeks later, on 22 October 1971, Ahmed was arrested in Johannesburg. Three days later Mohammad was detained in Durban under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act of 1967. He spent 141 days in detention, most of it in solitary confinement and was subjected to brutal and intense interrogation. Mohammed was released unconditionally in March 1972, with the state unable to provide sufficient evidence. Ahmed was killed in detention and Mohammed was not allowed to attend the funeral.

At the height of the Soweto uprisings in 1976, Mohammed was detained for four months and after his release was placed under house arrest for 5 years. It became increasingly difficult for him to continue with underground operations and he eventually was permitted by the ANC to leave the country. On 1 January 1978, the ANC smuggled Mohammed into Swaziland and eventually to Mozambique to join the external Mission of the ANC.

Mohammed received military training in guerrilla warfare in Angola. He underwent advanced military training in urban warfare as well as specialised intelligence and security training in the former German Democratic Republic. Throughout his exile Timol was deployed to the frontline states, working in the ANC security and intelligence structures.

In April 1990, Mohammed was part of the support staff of a Lusaka based ANC delegation led by Alfred Nzo, to participate in the Groote Schuur talks with the South African government to bring an end to apartheid. On December 16, 1991, after the unbanning of the ANC, Mohammed and his Mozambican wife and two children returned from exile.

Between 1992 and 1994 he worked at ANC headquarters in Johannesburg From 1994 he served the first democratic government in working to draft a new intelligence dispensation for the country. Timol served as a political counsellor in South African missions in Brussels then London from 2000 to 2009. He believes that his contribution toward the struggle against apartheid was a calling, and encourages younger generations to appreciate and nurture democracy.

Yusuf “Jo Jo” Saloojee

Yusuf “Jo Jo” Saloojee was a teacher at the Roodepoort Indian High School (RIHS) in the early 1960s and a neighbour and close friend of Ahmed Timol. He was part of a group that was responsible for the distribution of banned pamphlets and literature at the Roodepoort Indian High School (RIHS). Jo Jo was a Sports Administrator and with Ahmed Timol involved in the administration of the Dynamos Football Club. He left the country in1966 for Zambia and was instrumental in establishing an ANC representation in Canada.

In the democratic South Africa Jo Jo was appointed South African Ambassador in United Arab Emirates from 1998 to 2002; Iran from 2004 to 2008 and in Oman from 2009 to 2012. He is currently employed at the Department of International Relations (DIRCO) as a Middle East Consultant in association with Ambassador Ismail Coovadia.

Shireen Areff

Shireen Areff, commonly known as Shirley, was born in 1950 in Brits to Abdul Samad Areff and Zubeda Kaka. She attended Roodepoort Indian High School during the years 1964 – 1967, during which time she was a pupil in the class of Ahmed Timol. She swiftly became a prominent student leader and in 1964 when Babla Saloojee was killed in detention, she led a student protest in Fordsburg. She was detained by the security police for her part in the protest and in 1964 charged under the Terrorism Act. She matriculated in 1967 but was barred from attending any local universities, which prompted her to leave for India to study medicine. Not being able to settle in India, she left for London where she met up with Dr. Dadoo, Ahmed Timol, Essop and Aziz Pahad, Thabo Mbeki and others. She returned to South Africa and in 1970 she enrolled to study at Salisbury Island in Durban. There she was a member of the SRC and a student activist.

In 1971, when Ahmed Timol was detained, she was arrested by the Apartheid Regime. She was held in detention in solitary confinement at John Vorster Square and ruthlessly interrogated for a period of 55 days. During this time, Ahmed Timol was brutally tortured, interrogated and killed at the hands of the racist masters. Upon her release, she was placed under home arrest.

Ahmed Bhabha

Ahmed Bhabha was part of a group that was responsible for the formation of an awareness group known as the Roodepoort Youth Study Group in the early 1960s. This group was responsible for the recruitment of Indian students in the area. Ahmed was detained and held in solitary confinement in 1964. He left the country around 1965/1966, and now lives in Canada.

Women in the frontline of resistance campaigns

Many women from the Kholvadian community served various terms of imprisonment during the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign and the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaigns in 1954. The first batch of detainees consisted of approximately 15 resisters under the leadership of Zainub Asvat. Eleven of the 1st batch included Kholvadian Women. They were:

  1. Ayesha “Ouma” Bhyat” (Husband – E Bhyat)
  2. Miss Zohra Bhyat (Father – Essop Bhyat)
  3. Amina Pahad (Husband – Goolam Pahad)
  4. Sarah Dadoo (Husband – Baboo Dadoo)
  5. Mariam Vania (Husband – Mr Ebrahim (Bhoolabhai) Vania
  6. Julekha Saley (Husband – Saleem Saley)
  7. Jamila Bhabha (Husband – Essop Bhabha)
  8. Zubeida Patel (Husband – Mohamed Patel)
  9. Rookaya Saloojee (Husband – Goolam Saloojee)
  10. Miss Zubeida Bhabha (Father – Ahmed Bata)
  11. Miss Fatima Bhabha (Father – Ahmed Bata)

It is interesting to note that all the husbands or fathers of the women mentioned above served as members of the Board of the MAIK at some point.

A number of remarkable women participated in the struggle for a free South Africa. This includes Aminabhai Pahad, wife of G. H. I. Pahad; Chotibhai Bhyat and her daughter Zohra; Rookaya Saloojee (Rustenburg), wife of Goolam Saloojee of Krugersdorp, Zubeida M Patel; and Jameela E Bhabha. Bibi Fatima Pochee (wife of late Abdul Latif (Nanoo Pochee of Nigel) recollects: “There were a number of us from Nigel that went by kombi to Bekker Street in Johannesburg to participate in the historic Women’s March to the Union Buildings in 1956. The group comprised of Khadija Saley (Bhabha) from Canada and her sister, Hajoo Saley (Khote) from London; the late Shireen Tilly and sister Fareeda from Gabarone and Ayesha Patel (Gorikala) from Parktown. During the protest march, there was a heavy police presence. Police sniffer dogs were everywhere. One of the police officers let his sniffer dog loose on the crowd. One of the dogs charged the late Shireen Tilly and she fell to the ground. Fortunately, she was not injured”.

Rokaya Saloojee and all the ladies from Orient House also got ready to go to the demonstration but did not at the last minute because her mother in law did not think it was ok for Kholvad ladies to be involved in such activities. Rokaya remembers Aminabai Pahad telling her Mother- In- Law; “we (are) fighting for freedom for the people of this country. How can you stop the ladies from showing their support? You will see the day will come when because of the sacrifices we’re making, South Africans of all cultures will enjoy freedom to live in this country.

[1] (Source: Yusuf Wadee)

[2] Source: South African History Online

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Madressa Anjuman Islamia of Kholvad South Africa

Madressa Anjuman Islamia of Kholvad South Africa