The 29th of December this year will mark the fourth death anniversary of, undoubtedly, the most provocative yet tactful South African politician and Indian Leader, Amichand Rajbansi.
Dubbed the “Bengal Tiger” and the “kanniedood” (the name of a plant that thrives under the most hostile environments), “The Raj” will always be remembered for bouncing back to mainstream politics and outsmarting his opponents with wit and charisma.
His ability to deliberate and debate on any topic without preparation left his audience dazed and his enemies lost for words. “Where the Raj was concerned, he was a giant amongst men” were the sentiments echoed by the IFP’s Kamal Panday at the passing of Rajbansi.
When the Inanda riots emerged in 1949 and political violence between Africans and Indians erupted; the Raj was at the forefront of the battlefield, ensuring that “his people” were unharmed and rescued. Albeit he was unable to save all but he has many a success story from there. When the floods hit Tin Town and the people had to be relocated, Mr Rajbansi’ swift response was to obtain homes for those affected by the flood and ensured that whilst the development was on going there were sufficient recreational and social amenities within these newly developed areas such as Chatsworth, Phoenix and even as far as Lenasia. Rajbansi was a fearless fighter and like Moses (The Holy Bible) a deliverer to the Indian community from the oppressions of a white dominated pharaoh.
In 1994 when it was deemed political suicide to contest the first democratic election without negotiating with “bigger” political entities, The Raj formed the Minority Front, a party which grew to hold the balance of power at all levels of government and became the king-maker in KwaZulu-Natal in 2004. Twenty years into democracy, The Minority Front is alive and well, and as a tribute to the legacy of its Founder the MF is still fighting strong, the battles of those who are oppressed and marginalized.
It was in Mr Rajbansi that communities found solace during the days of political upheaval. He was never afraid to challenge opinions and certainly undaunted when it came to airing his own. The South African Indian Community trusted “The Raj” during the apartheid years and continued supporting him at the dawn of democracy.
Whilst we appreciate the contributions of those who came along the way and made investments in the Indian community in SA, there is ONLY ONE hero for the Indian community – The Raj!
Minority Front Spokesperson