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Mr Swaminathan ‘Swami’ Karuppa Gounden

The Order of Luthuli in

Mr Swaminathan ‘Swami’ Karuppa Gounden Awarded for:
His lifelong and courageous fight against apartheid oppression. He continues to live by the courage of his convictions in his pursuit of equality for all.
Profile of Mr Swaminathan ‘Swami’ Karuppa Gounden

Mr Swaminathan ‘Swami’ Karuppa Gounden was born in 1927 in Durban. He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1950. He became a council member of the Asherville Ratepayers Association in 1958 and is still an active member who served as its secretary for five years. He was a member of the David Landau Community Centre, a community-based organisation, in 1962.

He served as Assistant Secretary, Vice President and a Trustee, and was an active member of the Asherville Housing Action Committee. He joined the United Democratic Front (UDF), and was founding a member and trustee of the Monty Naicker Commemoration Committee.

Despite being jailed and banned, Gounden has since 1944 rendered over 70 years of dedicated political and community service to South Africa. He continues to be an active member of community and political organisations even as he approaches the age of 90.

A political activist, trade union leader and community activist, he is one of the last remaining attendees, from KwaZulu-Natal, of the historic 1955 Congress of the People in Kliptown, Soweto where the Freedom Charter was adopted.

He has participated as an activist and leader in most of the major historic campaigns in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. These include the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign, the 1952 Defiance Campaign, the 1955 Kliptown Conference and the 1983 launch of the UDF.

His many above mentioned citations and awards bear testimony to his ongoing support and contribution to the struggle for liberation, and community service towards improving the living conditions of the oppressed people of South Africa. His dedicated service to South Africa was highlighted in 2015 when the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal singled him out for recognition in his State of the Province Address.