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Jasmat Nanabhai (1907 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Jasmat Nanabhai (1907 - ) Awarded for:
Life-long contribution to the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights and for inspiring and dedicated campaigning and leadership in the community.

Profile of Jasmat Nanabhai

Jasmat Nanabhai was born in India on 17 February 1907 where he schooled. His family came to South Africa in 1924 and settled in Boksburg.

Nanabhai’s experience of racism and the consequence of unjust race laws inspired him to join the struggle for freedom and human rights. He returned to India in 1930 and as a young man, participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s famous march against salt taxes. This earned him a short spell in an Indian prison.

On his return to South Africa, Nanabhai continued to take up the cudgels of the struggle. In the 1940s he joined the Transvaal Indian Congress and volunteered in the passive resistance campaigns against the racist Ghetto Act. He has since that time, been involved in all the major campaigns of the struggle.

Over the decades, Nanabhai has been a loyal and steadfast presence in the movement for democracy and freedom. His mature leadership and wisdom borne of many years of active struggle against and resistance to Apartheid have influenced generations of freedom fighters.

Among his close friends and comrades were the late Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo, as are former President Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada – men who have inspired him over these many years in his fight for justice, democracy and human rights.

At 96 years of age, Jasmat Nanabhai still has the time and energy to get involved in the issues and problems of his community.