UKZN pays tribute to activist Dr Phyllis
Naidoo who passed away earlier this week.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal joins the country in expressing its sincere condolences on the death of eminent author and activist, Dr Phyllis Naidoo, who passed away late yesterday evening (13 February 2013), at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban following heart surgery. She recently celebrated her 85th birthday with friends and family.

A luminary in terms of South Africa’s journey to democracy, she is most noted for her no nonsense approach to life, a tenacious fighting spirit and her immense sense of justice and compassion for the poor and destitute. Despite the cruel and tragic loss of her two sons to the struggle Dr Naidoo remained committed to a free and fair South Africa. She is survived by her daughter Sukhthi and grandsons Buck and Louis who live in Cape Town.

In 1966 Phyllis Naidoo was banned for 10 years and under house arrest for another five years. She went into exile in 1977 and only returned to South Africa, the land she loved, when Nelson Mandela was released in 1990.

Dr Phyllis Naidoo was an anti-apartheid activist, teacher, lawyer and author who has left a lasting legacy by writing and publishing numerous books that recorded the history of the anti-apartheid struggle and the selfless contributions made by ordinary activists that she knew and worked with during her time in South Africa and in exile.

Dr Naidoo received numerous awards and accolades, including Honorary Doctorates from the University of Durban-Westville and the Durban University of Technology. In 2003, former President Thabo Mbeki conferred the Order of Luthuli for her contribution to the liberation struggle.

Dr Naidoo had an extensive and rare collection of books, letters, documents and photographs that captured the significant contribution of various activists. In 2006 she donated this collection to the Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre at UKZN.

Expressing his condolences to her daughter Sukhthi, and her many caring friends, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said: “I am saddened by the death of Dr Phyllis Naidoo. She has made a significant contribution not just to the South African political landscape but also to South African Literature. Her many books outline in detail the enormous selfless contribution made by many activists she encountered during her life. She will be sorely missed.”