Jay Naidoo Gives Us a Taste of his Bitter Childhood in an Excerpt from Fighting for Justice
UDF stalwart and anti-apartheid activist Jay Naidoo was the first secretary general of COSATU and worked in Nelson Mandela’s office as the Minister for the Reconstruction and Development Programme, and later, as Minister of Communications. His book, Fighting for Justice documents his early childhood and his years in the struggle; the highs and lows of transitional justice. In this extract, Naidoo talks about the upheaval of his family’s removal from their home in Durban:
IN MY earliest childhood memory I am four years old, playing with just a brick – imagining it to be a heavy-duty truck ploughing its way through piles of sand to forge a road. Suddenly real lorries appear. They seem to be making their way to our side of the street.
I remember running around the house to get a better view of them. There was a major arterial road that crossed the Umgeni River and travelled to the North Coast townships of Avoca, KwaMashu and Inanda in Durban. My parents had relocated from Dundee several years earlier and we lived in the close-knit community of Greenwood Park, a suburb of Durban. I loved our wooden house with its brightly painted green roof nestling in a valley at the end of a winding driveway. We had a dozen caves and secret hideouts. The greengrocer at the corner of the street had been there forever. He knew every child and parent in the neighbourhood. He had to know them – he offered credit on the basis of trust and family history. We lived in an intimate community that shared homes and meals.
- Fighting for Justice by Jay Naidoo
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