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Prithiraj R. Dullay PDF Print E-mail

Prithiraj R. Dullay (1946 - ) was born in Port Shepstone to a family who were among the pioneers in the area, and were known as innovators. Prithiraj’s early experiences with racial discrimination and Apartheid shaped his youth and resulted in him choosing an uncompromising path of confrontation with the various Apartheid governments. His early exposure to the writings of Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore as well as the independence struggle of India under tutelage of his late father and the late RB Chaudhary, mapped out the paths he would follow in life.

He became a student leader at Springfield College and his exposure to contacts with other student leaders such as Steve Biko, Strini and Sam Moodley, Shabbir Banoobhai, Neville Curtis and Dr Rick Turner shaped his political consciousness

He found a home in the Black Consciousness Movement and upon graduating as a teacher, he began teaching Art, History and English at the Port Shepstone State Indian High School. In 1972 he launched the Port Shepstone Ex-Scholars Community Programmes that became a front for political agitation and consciousness raising. It was one of the earliest mass anti-Apartheid organizations on the South Coast, based on the principles of self-help. In the same year he also helped to launch the Natal Indian Congress branch in Port Shepstone with Dr AE Gangat, RB Chaudhary, his late father and others. He was essentially a subversive activist-teacher, refusing to compromise his teaching with the lies of Apartheid. His activism and way of life conscientized a whole new generation of youth. Port Shepstone was never quite the same again.

Increasing activism meant constant harassment by the notorious Security Police, repeated short detentions, beatings and being under surveillance. A month after Biko was murdered, Prithiraj was detained with others as thousands were taken into custody across the country. The Community Programmes centre was shut down and all its self-help programmes were forced to close. He survived two assassination attempts and was forced to flee South Africa with his family in August 1978.

He was granted political exile in Denmark and remained there for fourteen years. He joined the ANC and was responsible for the explosive expansion of the Danish Anti-Apartheid Movement. Prithiraj delivered thousands of anti-Apartheid lectures, slide shows and made exhibitions that toured Scandinavia. He became the Deputy chair of the ANC Regional Political Committee. He and Mala Dullay also taught at the ANC’s Solomon Mahalangu Freedom College in Tanzania. He undertook a number of diplomatic initiatives on behalf of the ANC in Scandinavia that succeeded in imposing European Union economic sanctions against South Africa. In 1988 Danish Television made and broadcast throughout Europe, a 40 minute documentary of the lives of the Dullays, as a family in struggle against Apartheid. Prithiraj studied towards a Masters Degree at the Universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen and he lectured at the former institution.

He returned to South Africa with his family in 1992 and survived yet another ‘Third Force’ assassination attempt in Reservoir Hills in the same year.

He joined the Durban University of Technology in 1995 where he headed the Department of Institutional Advancement. At present he is an Academic Editor at the University. Since 2007 he has written a variety of controversial Opinion Pieces for the media. Today he is a syndicated columnist and his work is published nationally and internationally. He remains passionate about the environment, anti-racism, anti-sexism, xenophobia, democracy and the active participation of civil society as the custodians of democracy.

Mala, is a teacher-activist. Daughter, Simmi is an established artist and Sureka is a film maker. They are blessed with a grandson, Akira Ixhara.

Dullay’s book Salt Water Runs in My Veins was launched in May 2010 in Durban.

Extract from Salt Water Runs in My Veins

After three years when I graduated as a high school teacher from the Springfield College of Education in Durban, I was concerned about where the Department of Indian Education would post me. As an activist with a history of anti-government engagement, I was fairly sure that I would be “dumped” in some rural back water in order to neutralize me and to keep a careful watch over me. In the third year, all prospective graduates were expected to fill out names of schools of preference. I filled out the name of my hometown high school in Port Shepstone, with little hope of placement there. So when I was appointed to the school I had applied for, my surprise was great.  I relished the thought of teaching in my hometown and at the very school from where I had graduated four years earlier. A friend later told me that the authorities were quite desperate to get me away from the major cities and so when I applied for placement in a small town with little history of organized resistance, there was no objection. This was a serious error of judgment that they regretted!

Suddenly I was faced with thirty five youngsters all with minds that could be taught the new consciousness and a new way of thinking. I was determined that I would not teach my children Apartheid untruths. I would teach universal values of human rights and the dignity of all peoples as well as ways to defy apartheid. As a teacher of English, history and art I had the leeway to subvert. For me teaching was a subversive activity. I used practically every lesson to politicise my wards. I made them think through the stories I told them and those that I read. My teaching was based on removing as much of the straight jacketed thinking that had been drummed into their heads from the first grade, and then to replace this with universal values of truth, freedom and human dignity. I taught a love of reading and introduced them to underground literature and the writings of Chief Albert Luthuli, Steve Biko, Ostwald Mtshali, Peter Abrahams and other banned writers. Of course there was always the risk that I would be exposed and arrested by the security police; and it did happen several times.



2010. Salt Water Runs in My Veins.  Durban: Self-published.

Author Map (Port Shepstone)

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