Celebrating the life and legacy of late political activist Nabil Basil Swart, loved ones, friends and former colleagues came together on Sunday for what would have been Swart’s 87th birthday.
A celebration service was held for "Swartie" at Alexander Sinton High School where his fight for justice and contributions to local sports was remembered by the many in attendance.
In 2021, the school unveiled the Nabil Basil Swart Foyer in honour of the anti-apartheid activist and former deputy principal.
Principal, Ashrif Barday, said: "It is your reaction to adversity and not adversity itself that determines how your life will unfold.
"Swart and many of his peers at the time served this institution with distinction. He was a dedicated teacher, a disciplinarian of note, a firm authoritative figure. He had this unique attire with his khaki pants and Palestinian scarf.
“He had a loud booming voice and that always amazed me because with one loud blast, he could virtually clear the entire quad, within seconds, clearing all truant learners.
"However it was his reaction to the adversities that besieged our schools during the anti-apartheid struggles during the 1980s.
His fearless, determined and uncompromising nature in confronting the evil forces of apartheid government was testimony of his love for justice and fighting spirit.
“His legacy of defiance against injustice and his fight, not only to protect this school, but also its learners during the turbulent times will always be remembered," said Barday.
In a tribute by Dr Reederwaan Craayenstein, Swart was remembered as having "reshaped the education system" in South Africa.
"With his death, the structures of meaning-making for at least three generations must undergo radical transformations.
Brother Nabil was a father, brother, a son and a teacher.
When one talks about him, one recalls that he was a school teacher despite having the opportunity to live a middle-class life.
"At various times in the 1970s, when there was a need to take a moral stand, Mr Swart was never found wanting.
“While some teachers kept their heads down and deputy principals were more concerned with teaching as a career rather than a calling, Swart inspired many teachers at Alexander Sinton to view teaching as a prophetic calling," said Craayenstein.
Swart, was among the 173 parents, learners and educators arrested on the school’s premises on the morning of September 17, 1985 when staff and students defiantly reopened the school after it was forcibly closed by the government.
Most were released afterwards, but Swart was separated from the others at Manenberg Police Station and then taken to Brackenfell Police Station, where he was physically and emotionally abused.