Exhibition Honours Monty Naicker

An exhibition on the life and work of struggle hero Dr Monty Naicker is now showing at the Durban Art Gallery. Entitled Walk with Monty Naicker, it was opened by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently. Motshekga said, “Remembering the pivotal role of activists like Naicker in the development of South African society helps us reclaim and preserve our shared history and long walk to freedom. It helps us to understand and appreciate the non racial, national and democratic nature and character of our liberation struggle.” Motshekga commended the curators of the exhibition for including women in the exhibition, showing their role in the liberation struggle. Walk with Monty Naicker is the first instalment in the “Path of Heroes” exhibition series, produced by the Monty Naicker Commemoration Committee.

Former Transport Minister Mac Maharaj and members of the Monty Naicker Commemoration Committee said the exhibition formed part of a project that aimed to “reclaim our past by identifying and finding ways to honour the 2 000 resisters in the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign and more than 8 000 defiers in the 1952 Defiance Campaign”. At the launch were Defiance Campaign veterans, Henry “Squire” Makgothi and Moosa “Mosie” Moolla, who shared their experiences with guests. Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo said the exhibition had been made possible by voluntary contributions, which showed that “if we join hands in doing something, nothing is impossible”.

He said, “By preserving the history of our struggle heroes we can achieve a lot as a nation and teach our children and nation to protect our democracy, as it did not come easy.” Naidoo said, “When Naicker became the President of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in 1945, he was instrumental in paving the way for the signing of a joint declaration by the ANC, NIC and the Transvaal Indian Congress in 1947.”

This in turn paved the way for the Congress of the People, which met in Kliptown in 1955, and adopted the Freedom Charter – which remains the basic manifesto of the liberation struggle. KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize said, “It was worrying that young people do not realise the importance of the past. This discredits those who put us where we are today. These heroes gave us vision and it is our chance to take that vision further.” Naicker died in 1978, at the age of 67. The exhibition runs until February 1.

By THEMBA KHUMALO

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