Didiza: crucial role played by women in the liberation Struggle

ANC National Executive Committee member Thoko Didiza

ANC National Executive Committee member Thoko Didiza

Published May 6, 2024


The Natal Indian Congress (NIC), which celebrated 130 years of unity and non-racialism on Sunday, has been described as an organisation that helped ensure that the country’s democratic project continued unabated.

The NIC was established in 1894 by Mahatma Gandhi to fight discrimination against Indian traders in the then Natal and the congress was also a founding member of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

After the ANC was unbanned in 1990, the NIC was disbanded and many of their leaders became active in the newly formed ANC branches and its provincial and national structures.

ANC National Executive Committee member Thoko Didiza, who addressed the gathering at Durban’s Sastri College, said the NIC formed part of the critical congress movement that helped to dismantle apartheid.

“Many activists of the NIC bore the same scars and still bear the same scars that all oppressed masses of our country have.

“Their leaders and members were equally persecuted like many of our oppressed masses.”

Didiza said in reflecting on the history of the NIC, the contribution of women activists in the congress could not be forgotten.

“Women like Valliamma (Munuswami Mudliar), a young lady who in 1913 was imprisoned and died soon after her release.

“Mama Fatima Meer was part of the Women’s March in 1956 that went to Pretoria to protest against Pass Laws.

“There are many other women who played an important role that we celebrate today.

“It is some of these women in the NIC and the TIC (Transvaal Indian Congress) who made sure that other comrades, either as members of the MK or other organisations, were nurtured and supported to ensure that they continued with the Struggle for democracy.”

Didiza said money had not been the defining feature of the liberation Struggle and the goal was to do everything possible to liberate South Africa.

The Mercury