USolwazi Fatima Meer

Wazalwa ngo-1928, ku-Gray Street, eThekwini. UFatima wafunda e-Durban Indian Girls High School wabe esedlulela e-University of Natal, lapho aphothula khona iziqu ze-Masters kwi-Sociology. UFatima wakhuliswa esimeni esasazi kakhulu ukucwaswa ngokobuhlanga futhi esamenza waba ngumvikeli ongakhathali wabacindezelwe. Ukusuka ngo-1946 kuya ku-1948 Meer wasungula iKomidi Lokuphikiswa Kwabafundi. Usizile ukusungula uphiko lwabesifazane baseThekwini ukwakha ubuhlobo phakathi kwama-Afrika namaNdiya, ngemuva kwezidubedube zomjaho ezenzeka phakathi kwala maqembu womabili ngo-1949.

Imisebenzi kaFatima yaholela ekuvinjelweni kwakhe ngo-1952. Waba yilungu lokuqala le-Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) eyayihola phambili imashi yabesifazane yomlando eya e-Union Buildings ngomhla ka-9 Agasti 1956. Ngawo-1960, uFatima wahlela imilindelo yasebusuku ngO-1970 ngenkathi i-Black Consciousness Movement iqala ukubusa, waphinde wavalwa futhi waboshwa ngenxa yokuzama ukuhlela umhlangano noSteve Biko.

Ukusuka ngeminyaka yama-1980 kuya ku-1990, uFatima wasebenza nezinhlangano ezizimele, elwela amalungelo abantu abahlala emijondolo nabafuduki basemakhaya. Ubehola i-Natal Education Trust, eyakha izikole eMlazi, e-Port Shepstone naseNanda, iTembalihle Tutorial College e-Phoenix nase-Crafts Centre. UFatima ushicilele izincwadi ezingaphezu kwamashumi amane ngezihloko ezahlukahlukene.

UFatima uwine izindondo eziningi ngemisebenzi yakhe, ukubala ezimbalwa::

  • Wathola i-Union of South African Journalists in 1975,
  • Wathola i-Imam Abdullah Haroon Award for the Struggle against Oppression and Racial Discrimination in 1990,
  • Wathola i-Vishwa Gurjari Award for Contribution to Human Rights in 1994 and
  • Watholai-Top 100 Women Who Shook South Africa’ in 1999.

Wedlula emhlabeni ngoMashi 2010.

Umsebenzi okhethiwe

Ku-Apprenticeship of a Mahatma – A Biography of M.K. Gandhi 1869-1914 (1970):

When Mohan reached Durban in 1893, he was 24 years old. Seth Dada Abdulla, his host, client and employer, met him at the docks. The elegance of the young gentleman put him off considerably and he secretly wondered what he would do with him. Mohan had expected to find the same reception in Durban as in England since Natal was a British colony. He was thus shocked when he observed the supercilious air of the petty officials towards the Seth, whom he knew to be one of the wealthiest men in the colony. Customs formalities completed, they entered the city. Mohan had the feeling of being pursued by a silent hostility. The silence broke when he entered the local court. The presiding magistrate ordered Mohan to take off his turban. Mohan was shocked. A turban was not a hat; it covered the head as a mark of personal prestige and public respect. Humiliated and angry, the two men hurried out of the room, and it was then that Mohan learnt of White prejudice.

He wondered whether he should abandon wearing the turban, rather than having it subjected to further insults, but the Seth liked his young charge in a turban. Besides, he argued, never before had so educated an Indian entered the colony, and he reasoned that on that ground alone Mohan should not succumb to the unjustified and humiliating demands of the insensitive Whites. Mohan liked the Seth’s attitude, and so he not only retained his turban, but in addition wrote a letter to the daily paper, protesting against his treatment in court. He thereby, quite unwittingly, stepped into the politics of racial discrimination and released a voice of protest which, – in the years to come, would become increasingly more sophisticated. His brush with the colour bar certainly did not end there.

Almost as if by design, Mohan was exposed to a further series of racial assaults within the succeeding few days when he set out for Pretoria to work with Dada Abdulla’s lawyers on the Seth’s R80,000 claim against his cousin, a Pretoria businessman. He began the journey in a first class compartment. His companion, preoccupied with his newspaper, remained apparently unaware of his presence until they approached Pietermaritzburg. Then he suddenly baulked at the prospect of having to spend the night with a black man, and summoned the officials. They appeared and the chief among them ordered Mohan to the goods van. Mohan refused to obey, whereupon a constable was summoned at Pietermaritzburg and he was pushed out of his compartment and left stranded on the platform while the train moved on.

He sat in the cold on the bench, overcome by his humiliation and barely able to contain his anger. He did not know where his luggage was, and he did not have the courage to enquire lest further humiliation would follow. His first reaction was to flee the country and he debated the matter deep into the night, working out the grounds on which he would ask Dada Abdulla to release him from his contract; but with dawn came a new resolution. To run away would be cowardly. He should stay and fight this thing that made petty officials act in such a high-handed manner towards respected citizens. He realized that what had happened to him was no chance event, but the studied application of an attitude which had taken possession of the local White mind. He considered that attitude evil and contrary to every British tradition he had learned to respect, and hence, in fact, alien to the English who practised it. He decided to stay and fight.

Ukushicilelwa kwakhe

  • 1969. Portrait Of Indian South Africans.
  • 1970. Apprenticeship Of A Mahatma.
  • 1975. Black Women Durban
  • 1975 : Case Studies On 85 Women At Home And Work.
  • 1976. Race And Suicide In South Africa.
  • 1984.Factory And Family : The Divided Lives Of South Africa’s Women Workers.
  • 1985. Unrest In Natal.
  • 1987. The Trial Of Andrew Zondo : A Sociological Insight.
  • 1988. Higher Than Hope : “Rolihlahla We Love You” : Nelson Mandela’s Biography On His 70th Birthday.
  • 1989. Resistance In The Townships (edited By Fatima Meer).
  • 1989. Treason Trial, 1985.
  • 1990. Mandela : Higher Than Hope : The Biography Of Nelson Mandela.
  • 1991. Black – Woman – Worker (With Sayo Skweyiya et al).
  • 1991. Monty Speaks : Speeches Of Dr. G.M. (Monty) Naicker, 1945-1963.
  • 1993. The CODESA File : An Institute For Black Research Project.
  • 2001. Prison Diary : One Hundred And Thirteen Days, 1976.
  • (n.d.) The Ghetto People : A Study Of The Effects Of Uprooting The Indian People Of South Africa.
  • (n.d.)Power Of The Powerless : A Study Of South Africa’s Disenfranchised : Their Organisational Affiliations And Access To Power Based On A Sample Study Of 3316 Disenfranchised South Africans.

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