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‘A force of nature’ co-founder of the Advice Desk for Abused Women, Professor Anshu Padayachee dies

Anshu Padayachee. Picture: Supplied

Anshu Padayachee. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 21, 2023


The co-founder of the Advice Desk for Abused Women, Anshu Padayachee, has died.

The 69-year-old died this week.

Details of her passing have not been made public.

Padayachee was a community activist who was passionate about addressing the social ills in society associated with gender-based violence.

In 1986, together with Constitutional Judge Navi Pillay, the NGO was opened and provided crisis intervention for more than a million women.

Padayachee was outspoken about her fight against domestic violence.

Some of her career highlights included being a senior lecturer in Criminology at the University of Durban Westville, deputy vice chancellor (Academic) at the then M L Sultan Technikon from 1998 to 2002 and acting vice chancellor from 2001 to 2003.

The funeral is expected to take place on Saturday.

Padayachee is survived by her husband, Dr Preggy Padayachee and a host of family and friends.

Tributes have since been pouring in for Padayachee.

Yogas Nair, Independent Media Group Executive described Padayachee as a friend and mentor.

“Anshu always encouraged, inspired and motivated women like myself to be the best that we can. She fought tirelessly for the rights of women and youth. Her legacy will live on in all of us,” Nair said.

Author and social activist, Ashwin Desai described Padayachee as a “force of nature”.

“Even if there was load shedding, if Anshu walked into a room she would light it up.

“Her activism affected ordinary people and she has left behind an incredible legacy, both locally and internationally,” he said.

Desai said he had worked with Padayachee and she lifted him during the darkest moments of his life.

“She gave me a chance and I wouldn’t be anywhere near the person I want to be or write the things I write if it wasn’t for her.

“And while her passing has grieved me, I get a lot of peace that she is resting,” he said.

A close friend, Dr Devi Rajab described Padayachee’s death as a great loss.

“Anshu was an initiator of projects that made a difference to communities of women.

“She never let the grass grow under her feet, she lived a life of purpose.

“She was a great role model to young women and relentless in her commitment to social change. She will be sorely missed,” Rajab said.

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