Ti­mol rul­ing sets us free

Mail & Guardian - - Comment & Analysis -

Let me con­grat­u­late Ra’eesa Pather on the ar­ti­cle “Jus­tice for Ti­mol leaves us with bit­ter­sweet grief” (Oc­to­ber 13), which elo­quently cap­tured the sen­ti­ments of many of us who knew Ahmed Ti­mol and what he be­lieved in and fought for. I knew Ahmed and his fam­ily as a friend and neigh­bour in Rood­e­poort, un­til I left South Africa in 1962 to recom­mence my ed­u­ca­tion in Eng­land. Ahmed and I spent hours to­gether on our stoep, dis­cussing the bru­tal­ity of apartheid.

The next time I met Ahmed was in Lon­don in 1968. I was hon­oured by his pres­ence at my wed­ding but lit­tle did I re­alise that this was the last time I would see him alive. On Oc­to­ber 29 1971, while at work in my col­lege, I came across the Manch­ester Guardian’s story of Ahmed’s death. I sent a tele­gram to his fam­ily clearly stat­ing that we did not be­lieve Ahmed com­mit­ted sui­cide. Since that fate­ful day, I have not had a sin­gle mo­ment of doubt that he was bru­tally mur­dered by the se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus of the apartheid regime. (I elab­o­rate on this as­pect in my mem­oirs, The Cy­cle of Life, to be pub­lished soon.)

When Judge Billy Mothle an­nounced his ver­dict, the over­rid­ing emo­tions I ex­pe­ri­enced were re­lief and lib­er­a­tion. Now, af­ter 46 years, the truth, which all those who knew Ahmed well have never doubted, has been estab­lished.

We now need to cel­e­brate Ahmed’s life for his con­tri­bu­tion to the strug­gle to es­tab­lish a free and demo­cratic South Africa. He was a kind, com­pas­sion­ate, ar­tic­u­late per­son who cared more for the poor and op­pressed peo­ple in South Africa than for his own well­be­ing. He was a gifted bats­man in cricket, an ad­mired teacher and a mod­est role model for many of us.

Ahmed’s legacy lives on through Im­tiaz Ahmed Ca­jee and Mo­ham­mad Ti­mol, his nephew and his brother, in their in­tegrity, courage, tenac­ity and per­sis­tence in es­tab­lish­ing the truth pub­licly, de­spite set­backs. It also re­stores our faith in the South African ju­di­cial sys­tem and gives hope that the truth can be estab­lished about the other 72 peo­ple who died in de­ten­tion.

I am enor­mously priv­i­leged and proud to have known Ahmed Ti­mol and his fam­ily. I ad­mire what his nephew and his brother have achieved to end the years of de­nial.

Re­mem­bered: Those who knew Ahmed Ti­mol and his fam­ily never for a mo­ment be­lieved that he com­mit­ted sui­cide, a close friend says

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.