Ahmed Timol’s name lives on

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Farouk Araie

IT IS with im­mense re­lief that we are wit­ness­ing a new in­quest be­ing con­ducted into the cruel and bru­tal death of stal­wart Ahmed Timol.

The best we can do is to hon­our his tire­less ef­forts in pro­mot­ing so­cial and po­lit­i­cal jus­tice in our land and to con­tinue ex­pos­ing the in­jus­tices that ex­ist.

His life was spent in the ser­vice of the op­pressed and ex­ploited. Dur­ing the Strug­gle, he stood firm. The vol­canic po­ten­tial of the life of this land man­i­fested in his strug­gle. Timol fought a quiet revolution to se­cure our lib­erty. He was our lib­er­a­tor from tyranny. His im­petu­ous­ness and dare-dev­ilry, the orig­i­nal­ity of his ideas, shook the op­pres­sor. He be­lieved that to fight for your­self is nat­u­ral, to fight for oth­ers is grand, to fight for the hu­man race is no­bler still.

He did not live to see South Africa and lib­erty united for­ever. Upon his brow, fame placed the im­mor­tal wreath, as a na­tion bowed and wept.

When the his­tory of this coun­try is writ­ten, when the fi­nal ac­count­ing is done, it is Timol’s name that will be re­mem­bered long af­ter the names of pres­i­dents have been for­got­ten. It is his name that will be re­called as hav­ing helped lay the foun­da­tion for a na­tion to live up to its creed. He was a leg­end. He was a per­son who in­spired the best in us and he is liv­ing his­tory.

What has been writ­ten about Gandhi is cer­tainly true for Timol. His great­ness lay in what ev­ery­body could do, but doesn’t.

Great and em­i­nent lead­ers have mon­u­ments in bronze and mar­ble set up for them, but this no­ble teacher man­aged in his life­time to be­come en­meshed in mil­lions of hearts.

He es­tab­lished him­self as a fighter of no mean cal­i­bre long be­fore other politi­cians in South Africa ever thought of ven­tur­ing out from their in­su­lar are­nas to hes­i­tantly grap­ple with racism.

He un­der­stood that our lib­er­a­tion can never be with­out the lib­er­a­tion of our peo­ple. It gives us a tiny thread of con­so­la­tion that his mem­ory has been pre­served, im­mor­talised, in a sig­nif­i­cant day that will al­ways be alive. He was blessed with prodi­gious gifts, for­mi­da­ble in­tel­lect, elo­quence, fore­sight­ed­ness, en­er­getic au­dac­ity, con­fi­dence. He filled the room with en­ergy and his ra­zor-sharp in­tel­lect.

The name Ahmed Timol has ac­quired, for more than one gen­er­a­tion, the feel of per­ma­nence and awe which time con­fers on cer­tain his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments in the con­sis­tency of pur­pose and the unique kind of ded­i­ca­tion which he brought to the peo­ple of South Africa.

In any ob­jec­tive and se­ri­ous as­sess­ment of the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal his­tory of South Africa, Timol’s name can hardly be omit­ted from those whose cre­den­tials would rec­om­mend them as na­tional he­roes.

What has been writ­ten about Gandhi is true for Ahmed Timol


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