15 December 2017

South Africa: Personal Memories About Laloo Chiba, a Lodestar for South Africa

analysis

Laloo 'Isu' Chiba was a former Robben Island political prisoner and a board member of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. He passed away on 8 December 2017. ZAAKIRAH VADI writes about her memories of the anti-apartheid struggle stalwart.

My dearest Uncle Isu,

There isn't a time that I cannot remember knowing you.

You were a constant in my family's life; as regular as the call we would receive from you every Eid at exactly 7am wishing us well.

It was you who helped my mother look after my eldest sibling, just a few months old, as you boarded a plane to Cape Town for the launch of the United Democratic Front in 1983. My mother would recount how during that visit, you refused to cast a glance at Robben Island whose grey walls stole 18 long years of your life.

To my father, you were a political mentor, a comrade, a colleague and a close friend.

For me though, you were my icon, my inspiration, my grandfather.

Your sudden death has etched pain alongside every wonderful memory of you. The grief cloaks me as I go about my daily routine, threatening to envelop me entirely as I remember you in little...

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