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Passive resistance: 75 years on

Past pupils of Sastri College driving Sunday’s commemoration of the 1946 passive resistance are, from left, former University of Durban-Westville vice-chancellor and president of the school’s alumni association, Jairam Reddy; secretary Theraj Kassie, and Dhunniran Moolchun, chairman of the Alumni Association Trust. Duncan Guy

Past pupils of Sastri College driving Sunday’s commemoration of the 1946 passive resistance are, from left, former University of Durban-Westville vice-chancellor and president of the school’s alumni association, Jairam Reddy; secretary Theraj Kassie, and Dhunniran Moolchun, chairman of the Alumni Association Trust. Duncan Guy

Published Oct 30, 2021

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THE alumni association of the 92-year-old Sastri College and driver of the establishment of Resistance Park in Umbilo, will host a commemoration to the 1946 passive resistance campaign against racial discrimination at the site tomorrow on Sunday.

The venue is the exact spot where more than 10 000 people ‒ not all Indians ‒ camped out 75 years ago on a vacant piece of land to which they marched from Nichol Square in Monty Naicker Road (formerly Pine Street).

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“During the resistance, a group of whites raided the resistance camp, removed pegs and damaged the tents occupied by the resisters,” the alumni association said.

PAST learners of Sastri College driving Sunday’s commemoration of the 1946 passive resistance are, from left, former University of Durban-Westville vice-chancellor and president of the school’s alumni association, Jairam Reddy, secretary Theraj Kassie, and Dhunniran Moolchun, chairman of the Alumni Association Trust. Duncan Guy

“Such raids continued nightly and police made no attempt to arrest these thugs and criminals. These actions appeared to have the tacit approval of the authorities.”

President of the association and former vice-chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville, Jairan Reddy, said that considering KZN had recently experienced the looting, rioting and the racial incidents that happened in Phoenix, “we believe there’s a connection between those events and what happened during the passive resistance campaign and these are things that will be discussed on Sunday”.

Speakers at the event on the eve of municipal elections include Sham Maharaj of the Community Association in Phoenix, a Ntuzuma community worker Sylvia Zungu and Anglican Emeritus Bishop Rubin Phillip whose address will be “The 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign and its implications for contemporary South Africa”.

Tree planting, music, lunch and a tour of the monument are also on the agenda.

“Young people from Sastri College will plant the trees, so they can try to understand what is happening in the country; what part our people played in the Struggle,” said association secretary Theraj Kassie.

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“We want to concentrate on the idea of us all co-existing in peaceful living conditions and that the country is for everybody.”

Back in 1946, the marchers’ slogan was “To Hell With The Ghetto Act”, which was the forerunner of the Group Areas Act.

“It provided inspiration for the Struggle that imploded in the next decades, when there was a largely non-violent Struggle locally and overseas, leading to the dismantling of the doctrine of apartheid to establish a non-racial democracy,” added Reddy.

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The Independent on Saturday

Related Topics:

Apartheid

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