Dear Friends and Family Members,
Hi, Salaams, Namasthe, and Greetings!
Last Sunday the documentary, Indians Can’t Fly, was screened at the Memorial Hall, North York Centre, Toronto. About seventy five people, mostly of South African origin, attended the event. Anver Samuels, who is from South Africa, made the documentary; he addressed the audience after the showing of the documentary and answered questions related to the documentary. The event was hosted by Dr. Farouk and Jamila Dindar.
I chaired the meeting. We observed a minute’s silence to remember Ahmed Timol and all our fallen heroes who made the supreme sacrifice for freedom in our beloved South Africa. I quoted Nelson Mandela who said at the renaming of the Ahmed Timol School, in Azadville:
“Few things in life are as painful as losing one’s child. Anyone who doubt that, had only to listen to the testimony of Ahmed Timol’s mother as she told her story to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The memory of the suffering, frail woman, like thousands of other mothers who appeared before the Truth Commission, still brings us as much pain as the inhumanity of her son’s death.” Madiba further went on to say:
“Ahmed Timol was a brave young man who believed in freedom and justice, and who fought for non-racialism and democracy.”
Ahmed Timol was our Che Guevara and, like Che Guevara, dedicated his life to, in the words of Franz Fanon, “the wretched of the earth”, the downtrodden, the marginalized and the poor; both were brutalized and killed by cowards.
The documentary was very well received by the audience. It was sponsored by the SABC and has been shown twice in South Africa. It will be aired again in South Africa soon for the third time, and hopefully, next year at Hot Docs in Toronto. Anver Samuels who is participating in the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto was inspired to make the documentary after reading the book, Timol, A Quest for Justice, by Imtiaz Cajee, Ahmed Timol’s nephew. The documentary is very moving and full of pathos; I don’t think there was a single dry eye in the audience. It’s an excellent documentary and a work of art. A particularly gut-wrenching scene is when Ahmed Timol’s Mother, a frail and very tired old lady, begs to know from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in Gujarati, what her son had done in order to deserve such a horrible death.
Dr. Farouk Dindar spoke of his close relationship with his cousin and friend, Ahmed Timol, in England and in South Africa. Ahmed Timol was his mentor and educated him politically.
Farouk attended the inquest after Ahmed’s death and described Ahmed’s bloody clothes in detail. It was clear from the marks on the jeans that Ahmed had been dragged before he was thrown from the window on the the tenth floor of the infamous Central Police Station at the John Voster Square in Johannesburg. The description was poignant.
There were several questions and comments from the audience. Zaithun Varnia, for example, recalled passionately how her husband, Solly Varnia, was harassed by the police in South Africa for his involvement with the ANC and how he had to escape, on his wedding day, from the country at short notice; Solly died tragically in Canada. Ibrahim Moola who was a member of the ANC from the time he was young, spoke of Babla Saloojee whom he knew well, and like Ahmed Timol, was killed by being thrown from a tall building.
A large board which was displayed at the back of the hall carried the names of all our fallen heroes who had been murdered by the apartheid regime; among the names was that of Chris Hani, a friend, with whom I had studied at Fort Hare in the sixtees.
The meeting ended with a message of thanks from Ahmed Timol’s nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, to the audience for attending the screening of the documentary. Imtiaz Cajee said:
“The relationship and bond between my beloved Uncle, Ahmed Timol, and Canada continues to be stronger than ever before. This had commenced during the the book launches of “Timol, A Quest for Justice”, that had taken place in May 2005. Your presence here today continues to inspire me and is a constant reminder that my efforts in preserving the legacy of Ahmed Timol can never be in vain. Once again, I salute you all.”
The Ahmed Timol Exhibition will be hosted at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and later, hopefully, the Exhibition will travel all over South Africa commemorating Ahmed Timol’s 45th Anniversary in 2016. The cost for setting up the exhibition at the Apartheid Museum is about $35 000. If you wish to donate towards this venture, no matter how small, it would be highly appreciated. All donors will be acknowledged on the Credits Panel as part of the exhibition. You can send the money to either:
Dr. Farouk Dindar,
155 Beecroft Road, Unit 215,
North York, Ontario,
or send the money directly to South Africa to
TO CURATE AND HOST THE LIFE AND DEATH OF AHMED TIMOL,
SWIFT CODE: NEDSZAJJ,
Branch Code: 198105,
Acc number: 1454050373
If you wish to see the documentary, please contact Farouk at the above address.
Loves, Salaams, Namasthe,
Baboo (Abdul) Moola