Memory Initiatives



  • Ahmed Timol born in Breyten, then Transvaal, 3 November 1941

  • Arrives with parents in Roodepoort, 1949 (aged eight)

  • Family moves to Balfour, 1955

  • Returns to Roodepoort, 1956 (aged 15)

  • School in Roodepoort, finishes education at Johannesburg Indian High School

  • Senior certificate with matric exemption, 1959 (aged 18)

  • Works as bookkeeper, Johannesburg, 1960

  • Enrols at Transvaal Indian College (Fordsburg), 1961-1963 (also referred to in the text as ‘the Training Institute for Indian Teachers’; ‘Teacher’s Training College’ and ‘Johannesburg Training Institute for Indian Teachers).

  • Death of detainee Suliman “Babla” Saloojee, September 1964 and Uncle Ahmed attends funeral

  • Essop and Aziz Pahad go into exile, December 1964

  • Teacher at Roodepoort Indian High School, 1964-1966


  • Dynamos Soccer Festival, 1965



  • Visits Mecca, December 1966 (aged 25) in London, 1967-1968

  • Political training for nine months, 1969 (aged 28) accompanied by Thabo Mbeki and Anne Nicholson

  • Returns to South Africa, February 1970


  • For 18 months, 1970-1971

  • Setting up underground cells

  • Distributing banned political literature

  • Arrested at police roadblock on 22 October 1971


Death in Detention

John Vorster Square Police Station, 27 October 1971

1972 Inquest

Inquest by Magistrate de Villiers commenced on 24th July 1972 and concluded on 22 June 1972. Findings: Nobody responsible for the death of Ahmed Timol who committed suicide

Ahmed Timol Unit

ANC’s Ahmed Timol Unit named, 1987 led by Jameel Chand, Prakash Napier and Yusuf Akhalwaya

TRC, 30 April 1996

Renaming of School

Renaming of Azaadville Secondary School to Ahmed Timol Secondary School:

Nelson Mandela, 29 March 1999

2005 Book Launch



2005 E-TV Documentary

E-TV documentary (Indians Can’t Fly) in 2005

Order of Luthuli

Posthumous Awarding of National Order in December 2009 for Ahmed Timol

Website Launched

Launch Website in October 2012 (Digitise newspaper cuttings and uploaded in website)

Indians Can’t Fly

SABC Documentary on 1 Feb in 2015 (Indians Can’t Fly)



Exhibition hosted at Apartheid Museum (August 2015), Steve Biko Foundation (October 2016 with pics) and Ditsong Museum (June 2017).

Ahmed Timol Family Trust

Setup Ahmed Timol Family Trust (ATFT) in September 2015

Archive Inquest Records

Handover of 1972 Inquest Records to Ahmed Kathrada Foundation at Johannesburg Central Police Station on 27th October 2015

Re-Open Inquest

  • Enlist support in 2015 of Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) Legal Resource Centre (LRC), private investigator Frank Dutton and human rights lawyer Howard Varney for re-opening 1972 Timol Inquest

  • Submitted application to NPA on 19 January 2016 to re-open Timol Inquest

  • NDPP announced on 26 October 2016 the re-opening of the Timol Inquest

  • Daughter of Rodrigues made contact on 04th June 2017

  • Commencement of Timol Inquest on 26th June 2017 by Judge Billy Mothle

  • Ruling by Judge Mothle on 12th October 2017 reversing 1972 finding and charges to be laid against Joao Rodriquez, Neville Els and Seth Sons. Investigations against Sons and Els in progress and not concluded to date


Twenty years on: Where is truth and reconciliation?

Dialogue at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on 31 October 2018

Isithwalandwe Award

January 2019

The ANC bestowed late party stalwart Ahmed Timol with the Isithwalandwe Award. The award recognises outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle.The award was received by Mohammad Timol, younger brother of Ahmed Timol 

South Gauteng High Court dismisses Joao Rodrigues's application

Book Launch in 2020