Saeeda Cachalia Passes Away Due To COVID-19

NEWS: As COVID-19 continues to leave a trail of death and economic devastation, South Africa mourns the death of yet another anti-apartheid activist in Saeeda Cachalia. She passed away at the weekend from coronavirus related complications at the age of 80. She was grand-daughter of the iconic ANC stalwart Ismail Cachalia.

Saeeda Cachalia hails from an illustrious political family that is deeply involved in the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa. She is the daughter of Miriam and (Molvi) Ismail Cachalia, the former Vice-President of the Transvaal Indian Congress and an ANC stalwart. Her mother was imprisoned during the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign led by Dr Yusuf Dadoo. In exile, (Molvi) Cachalia served as the Deputy Chief Representative of the ANC Mission in Delhi (India) under Comrade Alfred Nzo. Her grandfather, Ahmed Cachalia, was a major leader with Mahatma Gandhi and Thambi Naidoo in organising the Passive Resistance Campaigns of 1906-1914 in Transvaal against discrimination in South Africa. In 1910, he became the President of the Transvaal British Indian Association, later renamed as the Transvaal Indian Congress.

Fakir Hassen remembers Saeeda Cachalia

Sharing his memories on social media, Hassen wrote, “It’s now becoming a daily update on veterans of the community that we are losing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Today it is veteran activist Saeeda Cachalia, daughter of the iconic Molvi Cachalia.”

Newsbreak Lotus FM spoke to veteran journalist and author, Fakir Hassen who recalls some of the fond memories he has of the late Saeeda Cachalia.

As a young girl in the 1950s, she would accompany her parents to protest meetings and political activities linked to the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings against the extension of the pass law to African women. She often told the story of women meeting on the morning of 9 August 1956 at Mary Fitzgerald Square as they prepared to join the historic demonstration in Pretoria. She was active in the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress and later in the Transvaal Indian Congress when it was revived in 1983. She was detained in 1980 during the national schools’ boycott. She served on the Laudium Parents’ Support Committee that was established to support the boycotting students.

Photos © Fakir Hassen 2020

Comrade Cachalia was an active member of the ANC. She participated in the activities of the ANC Veterans’ League and regularly attended the programmes of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. At the time of her death she was preparing a biography of her father, Molvi Ismail Cachalia. Hamba Kahle Aunty Saeedah. May your legacy of service to the people of South Africa be remembered and your gentle spirit always serve to inspire us.

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

In other news, The eThekwini municipality accounts for more than 49% of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the KwaZulu-Natal province, with more than 340 deaths. The metro’s hotspots are Umlazi, KwaMashu, Phoenix, Chatsworth, Inanda, Newlands, Tongaat, Pinetown, Westville, and Ntuzuma are just some of the other areas also named as hotspots. Go here to listen to the Newsbreak Lotus story

Sources: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation | SABC NEWS | Cover Image Cape Times

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