The president of the South African Tamil Federation, Dr Mickey Chetty

Durban - For the past 50 years, the South African Tamil Federation has persevered to make a positive impact on the Tamil-speaking community and to celebrate its milestone anniversary this month, it will host festivities at the Clairwood Tamil Institute on Saturday, which will coincide with the Tamil New Year 5119.

The federation’s president, Dr Mickey Chetty, said: “We are grateful for the partnerships built between the various organisations in South Africa and abroad and to their respective members. 

"Together we have flourished in a spirit of mutual and shared commitment along our journey.

“Let us thank our creator and maker for this wonderful love that we are sharing today as we look back on the journey that was started by the grace of our Lord. 

"When we laid this stone of foundation, nobody knew where we would be today except the Lord Himself. We want to thank Him for coming this far.”

Chetty had also appealed to the community to contribute to the celebration of this milestone by sharing any information, images and experiences they may have of the organisation over the past five decades.

Reflecting on its early beginnings, Chetty said: “A mass meeting of Tamils was held and convened by interested persons in November 1967 at the Natal Tamil Vedic Society Hall.

“The conveners were Messrs, VS Iyer, VM Thambiran, IP Naidoo, JR Devar, MS Naidoo and Mr J Aroomugan. Delegates from 22 organisations were present and discussions led to a national body being formed, the South African Tamil Federation.

“A conference was held over a three-day period from April 13 to 15 in 1968 at the Clairwood Tamil Institute. Resolutions were taken and the establishment took place on the third day (April 15).

“This establishment and role of this newly-formed body has enabled us to constantly push new boundaries in the upliftment of the Tamil culture and language in South Africa.”

The SATF will mark five decades of making a positive impact on the Tamil-speaking community with a series of events around the country.

The year-long celebration programme seeks to honour and recognise the presidents and vice presidents, executive members, presidents and vice presidents of the provinces, together with executive members, affiliates and the broader community, for their courage and determination to change the world around them.

“The programmes will also allow us to salute these individuals for the role they played in shaping the organisation.”

Chetty wished the Tamil-speaking community a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.

Celebrations on Saturday will start from 10.30am.

* You can submit information, photographs and articles you may have of the SATF to the public relations officer Shirley Naran by emailing [email protected] or calling 083 554 1981.