One individual may die for an idea; but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives. That is how the wheel of evolution moves on and the ideas and dreams of one generation are bequeathed to the next.Subhash Chandra Bose

These were words of Subash Chandra Bose, perhaps one of India’s greatest revolutionary figures. These words bear testimony to work that both Yusuf and Prakash committed themselves to in the fight for our liberation. The idea that these revolutionaries sacrificed their lives was that one day we will be living is a South African free from oppression and discrimination. The fact that people in their millions have taken to the ballot box at each election is a manifestation of their victory.

Too often have the stories of revolutionary heroes like Prakash and Yusuf remain untold. Our own history in a democratic South Africa is sparse of the real life legends that were born through our struggle for Freedom. We must recall the lives of leaders like Prakash and Yusuf, not because we mourn their loss but because we celebrate their triumph. And as we celebrate today the generations that follow can recall with pride and patriotism how our freedom was won. Both Prakash and Yusuf were truly sons of our soil. Their blood did nourish the tree of our liberation. But they were more than revolutionaries; there was a husband, father, son and brother in each of them. But their selfless commitment to our freedom took precedent over all other emotion and need. Their commitment was to a greater collective cause that outstripped their own individual needs, wants and desires.

The Ahmed Timol unit was formed in 1986. Prakash Napier was the Commander of the unit while Jameel Chand was the Political Commissar. Yusuf Akhalwaya was recruited into the unit in 1987. In a space of less than three years the Ahmed Timol unit carried out over 40 acts of sabotage. An average of almost two per month, making it one of the most active Umkhonto We Sizwe units at the time and perhaps in MK’s history as well.

The unit’s battlefield was the Old Transvaal and in particular the so called Indian Areas in Transvaal. Carrying out more than two attacks a month from 1987 to 1989 it soonbecame clear that a more appropriate name had to be found for the unit. The Ahmed Timol Unit spent hour upon hour talking politics, military tactics and how to find the balance between the two. We were wary that all our targets had to be politically motivated and that our attacks would spark confidence and revolutionary fervour amongst the struggle masses.

The unit was also highly trained with both Jameel and Prakash training in Angola for several months. Prakash went on to spend 6 months in the Soviet Union to enhance his training in 1988.

[1]One Hundred and Seventeen Days – DEAD MAN BANNED”

[2] Men of Dynamite – Pen Portraits of MK Pioneers

[3] Drs. Muhammed Haron, Department of Theology & Religious StudiesUniversity of Botswana, August 2005.