Lakhani Chambers

Offices in this building were used by many organisations and individuals engaged in the struggle against apartheid and racism. From the 1940s the regional offices of both the ANC and South African Communist Party were housed in Lakhani Chambers. The Natal Indian Congress also maintained its administration here during the 1950s, under the leadership of M.P. Naicker. The close proximity of these offices fostered the formal alliance between these organisations and was a factor in the coordination of their efforts to combat racist government policies.
After right wing white unions walked out of a meeting of the South African Trade and Labour Council in Durban during October 1954, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) was formed in March 1955. As Red Square was across the road and already a popular meeting place for workers, SACTU also established its base here. The later collaboration between organised labour, nationalists and Communists can be traced to shared office space in the building, which fostered close personal relations between leaders. In addition to running the unions from this site, worker education took place in classes held at Lakhani Chambers; lecturers included Billy Nair and Stephen Dlamini. After the ANC and SACP were banned following Sharpeville in 1960, secret meetings were coordinated in offices of sympathisers such as Mrs Chetty, who owned a sewing factory. When the Durban strikes began in early 1973 much of the planning and organisation among leaders of that action took place in Lakhani Chambers.

Location

Address: 2 Saville St
GPS Points: -29.85286, 31.02419
Site Contact Details: Steven Kotze
Durban Local History Museums
steven.kotze@durban.gov.za
031 311 2239

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