Throughout his life, Gagathura Mohambry Naicker (1910-1978), known as Monty, was a second-class citizen, denied that which ought to be the birthright of every South African. The air Monty breathed during his infant years was infused with the energy and excitement of mass resistance in the Indian community, in which women played a pivotal role. His medical student days in Edinburgh gave him a world perspective; this is where he forged a lifelong friendship with Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Dr Goonum Naidoo.
On his return to South Africa in 1935 he established a medical practice at 26 Short Street, Durban. His patients were mostly poor Indians from Magazine Barracks and Point Barracks. He challenged the moderate leadership of the Indian Congresses, helped to draw thousands of blue-collar workers into the ranks of the NIC and was elected president of the NIC in 1945. One of the first campaigns under his leadership was the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign. He was among the first to be imprisoned and the last to be released when the campaign ended in 1948. Monty, Dr A.B. Xuma, ANC president, and Dr Yusuf Dadoo, TIC president, worked towards a multi-racial united front against apartheid. They forged an alliance in 1947 known as the Three Doctors’ Pact. Monty was one of the leaders of the 1952 Defiance Campaign, where 8 500 people courted arrest. He was one of the 156 leaders accused in the 1956 Treason Trial. He was served with banning orders between 1953 and 1973, but still continued to lead the South African Indian Congress.
(Extract from the ‘South Africa in the Making’ exhibition)