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SA mourns death of anti-apartheid icon, Swaminathan Karuppa Gounden

SWAMINATHAN Karuppa Gounden was bestowed with one of the country’s highest honours – the Order of Luthuli in silver.

SWAMINATHAN Karuppa Gounden was bestowed with one of the country’s highest honours – the Order of Luthuli in silver.

Published Nov 30, 2021


DURBAN – South Africa is mourning the loss of anti-Apartheid icon, Swaminathan “Swami” Karuppa Gounden. He passed away in the early hours this morning. He was 94-years-old. Gounden was born in 1927 in Durban.

He joined the ANC in 1950.

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Eight years later, he became a council member of the Asherville Ratepayers Association where he served as its secretary for five years. He was a member of the David Landau Community Centre, a community-based organisation, in 1962.

Gounden also served as assistant secretary, vice president and a trustee, and was an active member of the Asherville Housing Action Committee. He joined the United Democratic Front (UDF), and was founding a member and trustee of the Monty Naicker Commemoration Committee.

Despite being jailed and banned, Gounden had since 1944, rendered over 70 years of dedicated political and community service to South Africa. He continued to be an active member of community and political organisations even as he approached the age of 90.

A political activist, trade union leader and community activist, he was one of the last remaining attendees, from KwaZulu-Natal, of the historic 1955 Congress of the People in Kliptown, Soweto where the Freedom Charter was adopted.

He has participated as an activist and leader in most of the major historic campaigns in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. These include the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign, the 1952 Defiance Campaign, the 1955 Kliptown Conference and the 1983 launch of the UDF.

His many citations and awards bear testimony to his ongoing support and contribution to the struggle for liberation, and community service towards improving the living conditions of the oppressed people of South Africa. His dedicated service to South Africa was highlighted in 2015 when the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal singled him out for recognition in his State of the Province Address.

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Compiled by Se-Anne Rall - Sourced from


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