Former Umkhonto weSizwe platoon commander and veteran anti-apartheid activist Laloo Chiba has passed on. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation confirmed on Friday that the former Robben Island prisoner is no more. Chiba passed away on Friday morning, the foundation said in a public statement. “Chiba had a mild heart attack a few days ago and was hospitalised. He was discharged this week and passed away at his home in Lenasia.” “Chiba was a former Umkhonto weSizwe platoon commander and was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment on Robben Island in the Little Rivonia Trial.” “He was jailed in B-Section, alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and others.”
Chiba, 87, was a board member of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. He was close friends with the late struggle icon and served on the Kathrada Foundation Board until his death. He also spoke at Kathrada’s memorial and funeral in March this year. “Chiba considered Kathrada his best friend and political mentor and was devastated after Kathrada passed away in March this year,” the statement continues. President Jacob Zuma has sent his condolences to the family of late anti-apartheid activist Laloo Chiba. “On behalf of government and the people of the Republic of South Africa‚ we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Chiba family‚ relatives and the African National Congress‚ on the loss of this outstanding leader and patriot‚” Zuma said. Chiba joined the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), in 1961. By 1962, he had been promoted to platoon commander as a result of his commitment. “His commitment and leadership was recognised by his comrades and he was asked to become a member of the Second National High Command in 1963.” “Chiba was brutally tortured by the Special Branch when he was arrested after his comrades were caught sabotaging a railway line. The Special Branch failed in their efforts to break him and, not being able to extract any information from him, it was unable to lay charges. Chiba was released – deaf in one ear from the torture he endured – only to be re-detained in 1964 and subjected to further remorseless interrogation,” reads his profile on the Presidency website. Upon his release from Robben Island in 1982, he became active in the United Democratic Front and continued to work in the ANC underground. Chiba was elected as a Member of Parliament in the first and second democratic elections in 1994 and 1999.
n 2004, anti-apartheid activist Laloo Chiba was awarded the National Order of Luthuli. Chiba is survived by his wife Luxmi, his three daughters and grandchildren. Details of his funeral are not available as yet but will be announced once finalised.