JOHANNESBURG: Two main streets in a South African town have been renamed after two Indian-origin veterans who played a critical role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid in the country.
Goolam Suleman and EV Mohamed played important roles in supporting late African National Congress President Chief Albert Luthuli, who was confined to his home in the area with repeated banning by the white minority apartheid government.
Formerly known as Stanger, the town was renamed after the advent of democracy under Nelson Mandela in 1994.
One of the main streets through KwaDukuza town, Cato Street has been renamed after Mohammed and Hullett Street after Suleman.
“The two gentlemen worked very closely with Luthuli, who was a banned individual at the time,” said KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu at the official renaming ceremony. “They supported him in his work by receiving correspondence, arranging couriers, served as secretaries, drivers and availed facilities for underground ANC meetings.”
Mthembu referred to Suleman and Mohammed as “the architects and midwives of the democratic South Africa” because they had even organised a concert to help raise funds for the infamous 1956 Treason Trial in which Luthuli was one of the accused.
Since Luthuli’s house was under constant police watch, Mohammed’s offices were used for Luthuli’s meetings.
Mohammed had also been a key player in organising a huge public protest against Luthuli’s banning order in 1959, which prevented him from getting a South Africa passport.
A year later, Luthuli became the first person from outside the Americas and Europe to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy of non-violence in the fight against apartheid.
Mthembu said it was important to recognise the efforts of the people who had played a role in the liberation of South Africa and its people to ensure that their contribution was not erased from the memory of the nation.