Matriarch’s legacy honoured with lecture

A memorial lecture has been launched to honour the late Srimathi Miniema Moodley for her contribution to the community.

The inaugural Miniema Moodley Memorial Lecture will take place on Wednesday August 15 at the Sri Siva Aalayam hall, 41 Ruth Road, Rylands, at 7pm.

The Miniema Moodley Memorial Lecture has been launched in association with the Sri Siva Aalayam, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

The lecture will be taking place during Women’s Month to emphasise the late Srimathi Miniema Moodley’s contribution as a woman in the community.

Ms Moodley, a long-time Rylands resident, died on June 6 2012.

“My grandmother was involved in the prayer committee of the aalayam, taking on the role of chairperson for several years. She was a trustee of the aalayam and never failed to help and guide where needed. She was known as a pillar of strength in the community,” said granddaughter Lerusha Moodley.

The keynote speaker will be Sri Angajan M.K on the theme “Defy your destiny, leave a legacy”.

Auntie Moodley, as she was fondly known, was born on August 4 1923 in Salt River. She was the only daughter and the youngest in a family of six. Her father, Changen Poonsamy Naidoo, was from India and her mother, Rathnama, was born in Burma. Both immigrated to Durban in the early 1900s.

The Naidoo family relocated to Cape Town where they sold baskets for a living. The young Miniema schooled at Belgravia Primary with her five other siblings. In March 1939, she married Narin Swami Kalie Moodley from Durban at the tender age of 15, in Belgravia. Mr Moodley worked as a waiter at the Grand Hotel.

It was World War II and Cape Town was in the throes of blackouts resulting in the Moodleys moving to Oudshoorn. They started a wholesale business selling bananas to all retailers in the town.

The birth of their first child, a daughter, Saraswathee (Neela) in 1940 brought much joy to Kalie and Miniema. Neela was the eldest of nine children. Sadhanananda (Ricky) was born in 1941, followed by Velimah (Kay) in 1944.

After the birth of their first three children, they moved to Wynberg, where Kalie rented a shop in Ottery Road. The shop was converted into a general-dealer store.

After their lease expired, they bought a property in the heart of Bellville. Their shop was called “Thanda Bantu Store”.

Until today Aunty Moodley’s family is affectionately known as the “Bellville Moodleys”. All their family enjoyed visiting the Moodley’s house, which stood at what is now known as the intersection between Durban Road and the N1.

The property was expropriated under the Group Areas Act and they were forced to move to Rylands in 1968.

Due to a long illness that Mr Moodley endured, Miniema had to take care of nine children as well as manage the financial aspects of their business.

Their home at 56 Pine Road became the Moodley headquarters where many memorable occasions were celebrated. Auntie Moodley lived there till the ripe old age of 88.

After a long illness, Mr Moodley died in 1971 at the age of 57. The responsibility of family breadwinner lay with Aunty Moodley.

She learnt to trade from an early age, keeping in mind that all her brothers were traders.

Auntie Moodley was a very spiritual person. Much of her knowledge was passed on to her children and grandchildren whom she encouraged to attend Sunday services at Dhaya Pather’s house in Hazel Road, Rylands, before the Siva Aalayam was built.

When the Siva Aalayam was completed together with Ama Dixon (from Durban) and Mrs Padayachee (Auntie Paddy), she played a pivotal role in bringing fruition to the prayer group of the temple.

The same passion and devotion she shared with her family was also shared with her love for her spiritual work for the prayer committee of the Siva Aalayam.

For many years, she served as the chairwoman of Siva Aalayam prayer committee and, till her death, she was a loyal trustee of the temple.

All are welcome to attend the lecture. RSVP to Lerusha Moodley at 071 548 1467 or by Sunday August 12.