Indian-Origin South African Activist Maniben Sita Dies Due To COVID-19 Complications

Indian-Origin South African Activist Maniben Sita Dies Due To COVID-19 Complications

Johannesburg: 

Veteran Indian-origin South African anti-apartheid activist Maniben Sita died on Wednesday due to COVID-19 related complications.

Maniben Sita, 94, was hospitalised last week in Pretoria after contracting the virus.

Inspired by her father Nana Sita, who in turn was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Maniben devoted her entire life to fighting apartheid in all its forms.

Maniben was born in 1926 into a family which was actively involved in political resistance in both her father’s native India and then in South Africa.

Like her father, she was also jailed many times in the prisons not far from where the celebration took place.

Nana Sita, who had spent several months living with Mahatma Gandhi when the latter came to Pretoria as a young lawyer to fight a case for a local Indian merchant, became a part of his Satyagraha struggle and continued the resistance long after Gandhi returned to India.

In an earlier interview, Maniben recalled how her political activism was sparked at the age of 13 when her father told her about violent tensions between two factions within the Transvaal Indian Congress.

After qualifying as a teacher, Maniben became as fierce a political resister in her trademark sari.

In 1952, Maniben also served a three-month jail sentence for occupying a bench at the railway station which was reserved for whites only.

With the advent of democracy in 1994, Maniben became an African National Congress municipal councillor, serving a five-year term and preferring not to be re-elected.

In February 2013, Maniben was one of the recipients of the annual Valliamma Mudliar Awards to exceptional women leaders.

“Today’s young Indian women have more opportunity to take action against evils in the society and should do so more vigorously,” Maniben had said at that time.

News Source: NDTV News

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