A privilege working with Paddy Kearney
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