Amrit Daya at his 90th birthday this year. Picture: Supplied
Amrit Daya at his 90th birthday this year. Picture: Supplied

Amrit Daya leaves unfinished legacy

By Janine Moodley Time of article published Sep 18, 2020

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Durban - AMRIT Daya, who was the oldest volunteer to take part in the 2010 World Cup, has died.

The POST recently featured Daya, who shared a birthday with Nelson Mandela. Daya, of Malabar in Port Elizabeth, had turned 90 on July 18.

The nonagenarian died last Wednesday after falling ill three days earlier.

His son, Ashwin Daya, said: “The doctor said he had picked up an intestinal problem that is common in elderly patients. It developed quickly and depleted most of his essential vitamins.

“A day before his death, dad asked me ‘Do you think I will get through this?’ and I said ‘Yes dad, you still have a lot of time left’.”

The following morning, Ashwin’s mother called to tell him that his father had died.

During his early years, Daya joined the Cape Indian Congress (formerly known as the Cape British Indian Association) as an anti-apartheid activist.

When the country gained its freedom in 1994, he began collecting memorabilia to remember Mandela’s fight for democracy. These included caps, T-shirts, scarves, banners, flags and books such as Long Walk to Freedom.

Before his death, he told the POST: “Before long, I will be gone and I will pass them on to my children, to keep the memories alive.”

He was writing his autobiography on how Indians settled in South End. Daya felt it was important that future generations remembered where they had come from.

“I pray the Lord will keep me alive until I am able to finish it,” he said at the time.

In June this year, Fifa confirmed that Daya was the oldest volunteer at the World Cup in South Africa at age 79.

He is survived by his wife, Tara, two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

His funeral took place at his home in Malabar on Thursday before proceeding to the Victoria Park Crematorium.

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