Nelson Mandela Foundation


Nelson Mandela and Suliman Esakjee together at last year’s reunion

Feb 2, 2009 – Suliman “Solly” Esakjee, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and a co-accused with Nelson Mandela in the 1956 Treason Trial, passed away in hospital last night. He was 79.

Active in the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) from 1946, he was also part of the Congress of the People which adopted the Freedom Charter in 1955. Esakjee was also jailed for 30 days for his part in the 1952 Defiance Campaign against unjust laws. He stood trial with 155 others in the 1956 Treason Trial, which continued until March 1961. Charges against him were withdrawn in January 1958.

Esakjee was also famously involved in the Picasso Club, which painted anti-apartheid graffiti on walls. Other members included Ahmed Kathrada, Babla Saloojee, Herbie Pillay, Mosie Moolla and Faried Adams.


Former Treason Trialist Suliman Esakjee passed away after a long illness

“We were delighted that, despite being unwell, Comrade Esakjee was able to join Madiba at a reunion last March with other former trialists,” said Verne Harris, project manager of the Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Esakjee leaves two daughters and two sons.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation offers its deepest condolences to the Esakjee family and to the family of Cassim Saloojee, who died on Sunday. Also an anti-apartheid struggle veteran, Saloojee passed away at home in Johannesburg after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was the driving force behind the Johannesburg Indian Social Welfare Agency (Jiswa) and a founder of the anti-Group Areas Act organisation Actstop. He also served as publicity secretary for the TIC and later became an African National Congress Member of Parliament. Saloojee leaves his wife Khatija and sons Riaz and Mohamed.