Biography of Amma NaidooGeneral Knowledge »
Manonmoney Pillay Naidoo (November 1908 – 25 December 1993) or Amma Naidoo was a South African freedom fighter.
Amma Naidoo Family and Early Life
Naidoo was of South African Indian Tamil descent and was born in Asiatic Bazaar Pretoria. She had her primary school education in the Pretoria primary school. She was the only daughter and had 8 brothers. Her parents had a family business.
Amma Naidoo had to care for the family and home and hence she did not pursue an independent career. In 1934 at the age of 26 she married Naransamy Roy Naidoo. He was the son of one of Mahatma Gandhi’s closest friends and a dedicated Satyagrahi, Thambi Naidoo.
He sent his children to live and learn under the tutelage of Gandhi at the Tolstoy Farm in Johannesburg.
Roy Naidoo was among the children who went to Tolstoy Farm where he received training in simple living and self sufficiency.
In 1914 after Gandhi finally left South Africa, Roy Naidoo together with the Phoenix boys went to Rabindranath Tagore’s Ashram, Shantiniketan where they lived for two years and received some training in arts and crafts as well as Indian culture and language. The party then moved to Sabarmati Ashram.
Naidoo’s husband Roy returned home to South Africa in 1928. He began work with the trade union movement and joined the Communist Party of South Africa CPSA. Naidoo worked closely with him. She joined him in the 1946 Passive Resistance campaigns and courted imprisonment which she served bravely.
In 1952 she again joined the defiance campaign and was again imprisoned. In 1954 she joined the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) and was elected on to its executive committee. She attended the Kliptown People’s Congress and participated in the adoption of the Freedom Charter.
In 1956 she marched to the Union buildings with 20,000 women against the pass laws. She participated in almost all the campaigns and marches held in Johannesburg.
There were candlelight processions, night vigils, and in 1963 she marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the formation of the South African Indian Council created by the apartheid government. She was outspoken and ready to participate in political activity.
Amma Naidoo watched her children being imprisoned, detained tortured and harassed by the apartheid security police but remained steadfast right to the end. The Naidoo home was always a hive of activity.
Leaders such as Moses Kotane, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and many others were constant visitors.
Amma Naidoo Death
On 25 December 1993 she died without being afforded the opportunity to see South Africa’s transition to democracy or to be able to finally cast her vote in a democratic South Africa.
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