A priv­i­lege work­ing with Paddy Kear­ney

Post - - OPINION -

I CON­SIDER it a priv­i­lege to have known and worked with Paddy Kear­ney, pic­tured, for many years.

My early rec­ol­lec­tions are of Paddy be­ing deeply af­fected by the squalor and in­ner city decay of the lower Dur­ban CBD.

This in­cluded the Warwick Tri­an­gle Precinct, which re­sulted in the spread of so­cial ills, in­clud­ing home­less­ness and Woonga ad­dic­tion among street kids, poverty, and an in­crease in the num­ber of refugees.

Paddy took ac­tive steps to mo­bilise stake­hold­ers in the area, busi­ness and re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions, to­gether with I-Trump and the Warwick Precinct up­grade fo­rum to ad­dress these is­sues.

He also played a lead­ing role in the Dur­ban In­ner-City Lib­er­a­tion Her­itage Route Com­mit­tee and con­vened the first meet­ing on Au­gust 27, 2013, to­gether with Hoosen Moola of Safer Cities and I-Trump; and Paddy rep­re­sent­ing the De­nis Hur­ley Cen­tre.

He be­lieved that by at­tract­ing vis­i­tors, tourists and stu­dents to these lib­er­a­tion her­itage sites, it would help re­gen­er­ate the in­ner city, cre­at­ing much needed em­ploy­ment. Sub­se­quent meet­ings were con­vened at the Kwa Mushle chaired by Steven Kotze, re­searcher at the lo­cal his­tory mu­seum. The func­tion of the com­mit­tee was to iden­tify and au­then­ti­cate lib­er­a­tion her­itage sites. Paddy played an ac­tive role at these meet­ings and also chaired meet­ings in Kotze’s ab­sence.

A high­light of this en­deav­our was a field and site in­spec­tion pre­ceded with an ad­dress by Tem­binkosi Ng­cobo, the head of Parks, Recre­ation and Cul­ture at the eThekwini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and an over­view of the pro­ject sig­nif­i­cance by Jab­u­lini Si­tole and Thami Nx­as­ane of the Na­tional Her­itage Coun­cil.

There­after, about 40 del­e­gates were trans­ported by a mu­nic­i­pal bus to each of the iden­ti­fied his­toric lib­er­a­tion sites to hear first hand of the role played in the lib­er­a­tion Strug­gle.

Paddy and the del­e­gates were elated to see all the hard work done by the com­mit­tee com­ing to fruition. Fi­nally af­ter three years, Guy Red­man, the deputy head of Li­braries and Her­itage de­part­ments of the eThekwini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, made a press re­lease in the Daily News Fe­bru­ary 8, 2016, of­fi­cially con­firm­ing 30 lib­er­a­tion her­itage sites in Dur­ban.

Paddy, to­gether with Thami Nx­as­ane, were re­spon­si­ble for do­ing the ground­work for the “Spir­i­tual Clus­ter”, com­pris­ing the Juma Mosque, Em­manuel Cathe­dral, De­nis Hur­ley Cen­tre, Gandhi Li­brary, Gandhi Me­mo­rial Trust, Vic­to­ria Street Mar­ket and the Early Morn­ing Mar­ket with the view of get­ting na­tional her­itage sta­tus and pos­si­ble Unesco recog­ni­tion, cit­ing its unique fea­ture of three ma­jor re­li­gious es­tab­lish­ments in close prox­im­ity to each other, shar­ing peace­ful co-ex­is­tence for more than 100 years.

Paddy, a de­vout Catholic, also had a deep re­spect for other faiths and their ad­her­ents. His love for humanity won him ad­mir­ers who gave him sup­port to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment of the De­nis Hur­ley Cen­tre, a place of hope for the des­ti­tute.

We salute this hum­ble hu­man­i­tar­ian who has left us a legacy that will con­tinue to in­spire us for gen­er­a­tions to come.

May his Soul Rest in Peace.

ROOTHREN MOOD­LEY. Vic­to­ria Street Mar­ket –Trustee, Dur­ban In­ner-City Lib­er­a­tion Her­itage Route Com­mit­tee Mem­ber, Warwick Precinct Up­grade Fo­rum Mem­ber, and Early Morn­ing Mar­ket Sup­port Group

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