Lenny Naidu Drive(1964-1988) (Formerly Pelican Drive, Chatsworth)

It’s been almost 21 years since Lenny Naidu, a dedicated member of the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, was killed along with eight women by apartheid security forces at the South Africa-Swaziland border. He was just 24. He had gone into exile in 1986 and was returning home after receiving military training. Naidu’s vigour and resolve continue to inspire those he left behind, especially in his community.

Jurie Denver, of the Lenny Naidu Institute, said: “Young as he was, he left such a significant legacy. His unwavering contribution to the liberation struggle truly deserved recognition. It’s part of our rich history and we are proud of him.” The institute, established in 2006, focuses on youth development. It recently held a ceremony to mark the renaming of Pelican Drive after Naidu. Naidu’s sister, Amsha Naidu, described him as, “a very gentle, loving and humble young man who constantly wore a smile on his face, but was very strict with his siblings”. She said the family had never known him as an activist, “yet he was so clued up on the politics of the day and wanted justice, peace and development for his people”. She described him as a great all-rounder.

“He excelled in sports, especially soccer, and won several trophies at school, including book prizes. He never gave us any serious indication that he’d leave. He was convinced of his beliefs.” She said he had told his family once that he was prepared to die for his beliefs. “For us, renaming Pelican Drive as Lenny Naidu Drive is true recognition of the sterling contribution Lenny made towards the emancipation of the oppressed. We are very proud of our brother and others who went through this tough and rough journey,” she said. “Lenny walked this road to and from school for many years. Now his spirit will live on forever.” Naidu was born on 12 April 1964 and died on 8 June 1988.

dlaminisd@durban.gov.za