Rabia Motala or ‘Aunty Choti’, said to be the strength behind her husband, Dr Chota Motala, signs a book for relative Abbas Sardiwalla.

PIETERMARITZBURG - In almost every nook and cranny of Pietermarizburg, the fruits of the selfless labour of struggle activist, Dr Chota Motala, is evident.

This is the essence of the book Chota Motala, a biography of Dr Motala’s political activism in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, was launched last Saturday at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus.

Dr Motala was a Midlands-based anti-apartheid activist who was an instrumental figure in the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) and ANC.

Motala died in 2005, aged 84, and the book highlights his life, both as a prominent medical doctor and a political icon who amalgamated these fields to bring relief to the people of 'Maritzburg during the apartheid era.

UKZN School of Sciences Professor Goolam Vahed compiled the book over 13 years, which is filled with interviews with Motala’s family and colleagues.

For Vahed, the book was about telling Struggle stories that were not highlighted by mainstream media, and he hoped that this “recording of history” would later include other political figures whose personal sacrifices were unknown to many.

Motala’s children, Professor Shireen Motala and Irshad Motala, said the book was an important read as it not only put a spotlight on Motala’s personal life and the sacrifices he made, but also delved into the struggles of life in Pietermaritzburg during the days of apartheid.