Ahmed Timol’s legacy on display
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