Ahmed Ti­mol’s legacy on dis­play

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHAYA KOKO

A POW­ER­FUL cel­e­bra­tion of the life and legacy of an anti-apartheid ac­tivist whose life was bru­tally cut short, al­legedly at the hands of the regime.

This will be the over­ar­ch­ing theme that per­me­ates the Ahmed Ti­mol Ex­hi­bi­tion, which opens tonight at the Dit­song Mu­seum in the heart of Pre­to­ria’s CBD.

Ti­mol was an SACP and ANC ac­tivist, who died in Oc­to­ber, 1971 af­ter fall­ing 10 storeys from the in­fa­mous John Vorster Square po­lice sta­tion – now known as Jo­han­nes­burg Cen­tral po­lice sta­tion.

The ac­tivist’s death is sub­ject to a re­opened in­quest, which be­gan last week at the Jo­han­nes­burg High Court, af­ter the ini­tial in­quest ruled that Ti­mol had com­mit­ted sui­cide.

The re­opened in­quest was brought by the Ti­mol fam­ily, who were un­happy at the find­ings made by apartheid mag­is­trate JL de Vil­liers in June, 1972.

The fam­ily strongly be­lieves that the for­mer teacher was mur­dered by the po­lice while in their cus­tody.

How­ever, the fam­ily say the ex­hi­bi­tion will be about pay­ing homage to the life and legacy of the school­teacher.

“The ex­hi­bi­tion de­picts the life and times of Ahmed Ti­mol, and is a pow­er­ful plat­form in pre­serv­ing his legacy,” said Im­tiaz Ca­jee.

Ca­jee is Ti­mol’s ma­ter­nal nephew.

“The ex­hi­bi­tion was made pos­si­ble thanks to gen­er­ous do­na­tions by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional sym­pa­this­ers, who want my un­cle’s legacy to be pre­served,” Ca­jee said.

He added: “The Ti­mol fam­ily owes a great deal of grat­i­tude to all our donors, in­clud­ing the Steve Biko Foun­da­tion, which has part­nered with the Ti­mol Fam­ily Trust in host­ing such exhibitions.”

In an ear­lier in­ter­view with The Star, Ca­jee said that his un­cle had not been a vic­tim of the apartheid po­lice. “He was a free­dom fighter.”

Ti­mol and his un­cle’s friend, Salim Es­sop, were ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 1971 when a car they were in was stopped by the po­lice, and banned SACP and ANC lit­er­a­ture was found in the ve­hi­cle.

Es­sop tes­ti­fied for three days last week at the re­opened in­quest.

“They (Ti­mol and Es­sop) were free­dom fighters who were pre­pared to fight dur­ing a very dif­fi­cult era in this coun­try.

“This was af­ter the Rivo­nia Trial and the Sharpeville mas­sacres, when the apartheid regime thought they had crushed all forms of re­sis­tance,” said Ca­jee.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will start tonight at 6pm. It will run un­til Septem­ber 22. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.ahmed­ti­mol.co.za

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