In this series, No Longer at This Address, we focus on the new road names in Durban, and the people that they’re named in honour of. And while Moses Mabhida’s namesake is not a road, the soccer stadium is such a massive part of Durban’s new skyline (and its soul) that we thought it was well worth writing about!
Moses Mbheki Mncane Mabhida was born in KwaZulu-Natal, just outside of Pietermaritzburg, on the 14th October 1923. His father was an important political influence in his life, and as a unionist himself, encouraged his son to join the trade union movement. As one of the people instrumental in the formation of SACTU (South African Congress of Trade Unions) Mabhida was elected vice-president at its first congress in 1955. He was also very involved with the ANC, becoming a member of its National Executive Committee in 1956, and later the Chief Political Instructor for Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC’s armed wing. In 1979 Mabhida was elected general secretary of the Communist Party, a post that he held until his death in 1986.
In a eulogy at his state funeral Oliver Tambo observed that Mabhida had been educated in “the stern university of mass struggle…. It is rarely given to a people that they should produce a single person who epitomises their hopes and expresses their common resolve as Moses Mabhida did. In simple language he could convey the aspirations of all our people in their magnificent variety, explain the fears and prejudices of the unorganised, and sense the feelings of even the most humble among our people.”
In 2006 the body of Moses Mabhida was exhumed from its grave in Mozambique, where Mabhida was when he suffered a heart attack and died. His remains were brought home to rest, and a memorial service was held in his honour.
Stadium photograph courtesy of www.sabc.co.za