VERULAM: 1 March 2009
The Chinsamy family, and friends of my
friend and brother Mr Y S Chinsamy, leaders of the IFP and of other
It has really saddened me that a function to
commemorate and celebrate the life of my brother Yellan Chinsamy was
arranged without checking with me whether this date suited me.
Unfortunately, when Mrs Helen Suzman, former Member of Parliament
passed away, her family decided that there will be a memorial
service held on this day. I accepted the
invitation more than two months ago. I
could therefore not get out of that commitment which I made to the
late Helen Suzman's family. It saddens me that I of all people
should not be present when the life of my comrade and colleague Mr Y
S Chinsamy is being celebrated.
Mr Chinsamy or "YS" as all of us
affectionately addressed him is one of the unsung heroes of our
liberation struggle. His contribution to the struggle for
liberation in South Africa is yet to be assessed and properly
The Apartheid Regime was catapulted into
power in 1948 when the National Party won the election on the
apartheid ticket. As we all know this was a blatant ideologisation
of Racism. The apartheid ideologues aimed at separating the people
of this country on the basis of racial and ethnic lines. Whites
were not to be separated on the basis of their ethnicity. But we the
people of colour were separated along ethnic lines; not only did
they intend separating themselves as Whites from the rest of us
Blacks. No. They went further to separate us as people of colour
as Indians, Africans and Coloureds. They were not satisfied with
this. They went further to separate African people along ethnic
lines. This was their grandiose solution for what was then glibly
referred to as the colour problem.
It was as if according to their book, God
was mad when He made us in different colours as flowers of his
tapestry on the planet earth. This was the background of the madness
of the apartheid bosses.
For us in this Province, the Indian people
were brought into South Africa in the 1860s to give indentured
labour to this Province's sugar barons. That was long before the
destruction of the Zulu Kingdom which took place much later in 1879.
All of a sudden we were to have separate
compartmentalised lives even as people of this Province. Mr Y S
Chinsamy is one of the people who together with some of us decided
to take a stand against this insanity of the National Party. The
Regime made sure that we were not even allowed to participate in
politics together. So they passed the Improper Interference Act,
which forbade us from participating in politics across racial lines.
Mr Chinsamy of the Reform Party of South
Africa and Mr Sony Leon of the Labour Party of South Africa, a
Coloured political organisation and myself decided to undermine this
separation of us by the apartheid bosses. We launched the South
African Black Alliance which was composed of our organisations. We
were later to be joined by the Dikwakwentla
Party of the Free State from Qwaqwa. We
were also joined by the Inyandza Movement of KaNgwane.
The Regime had tried to intimidate me in
1976 when I was summoned to Pretoria by the Minister of Police Mr
Jimmy Kruger in 1976. He had tried to intimidate me from allowing
Africans of other ethnic groups from joining Inkatha. He said that
I should confine membership of the organisation only to
I told him frankly that I was not prepared
to do so. I stated that as long as the National Party recruited
Whites of different ethnic groups, I would continue to allow
Africans of other ethnic groups other than just Zulus to join my
That is the background against which we
operated with Mr YS Chinsamy in the South African Black Alliance.
The Regime was very cute in using the old
Roman Empire device of DIVIDE ET IMPERA which is Divide and Rule.
They then came up with another divisive ruse when they set up the
Tricameral Parliament. They now invited the Coloureds and Indians
to join them in Parliament in Cape Town, leaving us the African
people as the majority of the population out of it.
The pretext was that we as Africans were
going to have our own independent states. In fact some Africans had
accepted this fraud. When Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and
Ciskei were set up as "independent states", I and the Zulu people in
this Province rejected this farce as an insane pipe-dream.
It was during this period that Mr Chinsamy
was subjected to a lot of pressure to join the Tricameral
Parliament. This is the time when Mr Chinsamy demonstrated of what
sterner stuff he was made. He would not be blinded by any waving of
these blandishments to agree to participate in the Tricameral
System. This meant great sacrifice on his part. He sacrificed what
would have meant a better life for himself and his family by staying
out of the Tricameral System. A number of people who had been with
us on the South African Black Alliance such as Rev Alan Hendrickse
and the Coloured Labour Party deserted us in the Black Alliance.
Leaders such as the leader of the Minority Front with whom we had
been in the South African Black Alliance (SABA) left us. Mr
Chinsamy stuck to the South African Black Alliance and stood with us
through thick and thin. This was one of South Africa's greatest
sons. I have much pride in sending this message of admiration to
such a great principled leader and visionary.
Mr Chinsamy's friendship was not only just
confined to politics. He was also a personal friend to many of us
in the African Community. He was a close friend for example of the
late African lawyer Mr Reginald Adolphus Vusumuzi Ngcobo popularly
known as Reggie Ngcobo. Mr Chinsamy did so much for the Ngcobo
family even spending his own money to assist them. Even when
Mr Ngcobo died all of a sudden "YS" was there for his widow and
family. Members of my family felt YS's passing away as much as I
did. He was also a close family friend. During its season my
children knew that uncle YS would send a bakkie load of "litches" to
my home at KwaPhindangene which the entire family would enjoy for
We thank Mr Chinsamy's family for having
allowed him to do all that he did to fight apartheid and for so much
that he did to alleviate poverty amongst the poorest of the poor.
We all pay tribute to this great South
African patriot. Those of us who knew and worked with him knew that
we were privileged to work with a wonderful child of God.
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