Shirish Nanabhai, Reggie Vandeyar and Indres Naidoo spent a decade in the infamous Robben Island prison following their arrest in 1961
Memorial stones dedicated to Indian-origin South African freedom fighters – Shirish Nanabhai, Reggie Vandeyar and Indres Naidoo – have been unveiled at a cemetery here.
Vandeyar passed away in 2015 at the age of 84, while Nanabhai and Naidoo passed on a year later, aged 78 and 80, respectively.
Memorial stones in honour of the three anti-apartheid leaders were unveiled on Tuesday by members of the non-governmental organisation, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF), at the grave site of their long-time comrade and South African revolutionary leader Laloo “Isu” Chiba at the Westpark Cemetery.
The four leaders spent a decade in the infamous Robben Island prison following their arrest in 1961 — after they were betrayed by a member of their unit — for opposing the apartheid-era white minority government, including carrying out sabotage attacks to bring the draconian regime to its knees.
AKF Board member Ismail Vadi said those being remembered were all ordinary people driven by their conscience to bring about freedom for their fellowmen.
Reggie was a waiter, Shirish worked in the family store and Indres was an ordinary working class person, but they were able to transcend this and became leading activists of their time. Even on the Island, their political education and training was being developed, he said.
Family members of the three revolutionaries shared the sacrifices that they had to make in their pursuit of democracy for all, Vadi said.
Remembering the freedom fighters, former chief of the South African National Defence Force General Siphiwe Nyanda said, Today we still draw inspiration from them, despite their physical absence. They are still a beacon for some of us.”