Dr. Abu Baker Asvat timeline 1943 - 2012

1943
23 February, Abu Baker Asvat is born in Vrededorp, Gauteng.
1961
Asvat graduates from Johannesburg Indian High School and moves to Pakistan to continue his education.
1963
After completing a two year science course in Lahore, Asvat begins his medical training in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). He and his brother Ebrahim eventually move to Karachi to continue their medical studies.
1964
Ebrahim and Abu, along with a group of likeminded students in Karachi, establish the Azania Youth Movement, affiliated with the PAC.
1968
Asvat finishes his MD training at Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan. He returns to South Africa shortly thereafter and begins working at the Coronation Hospital in Johannesburg.
1972
The Coronation hospital fires Asvat after he makes a complaint about the racist behaviour of pharmaceutical executives visiting the hospital. He begins working at a clinic in the Chicken Farm area of Soweto. At the clinic he installs public toilets, opens a soup kitchen, and creates a school out of a nearby broken bus.
1976
January, Ali Bacher of the South African Cricket Board (SACB) launches the “normal cricket initiative,” which allows for interracial cricket competitions.
June, Asvat’s clinic catches on fire during the Soweto Uprising. People living in the community put out the fire and stand watch over the building overnight until Asvat is able to reach the clinic in the morning.
Unknown, Asvat meets his future wife Zorah through a mutual friend and they are married later that year.
1977
August, Asvat co-creates the Transvaal Cricket Board along with Ajit Gandabhai and Rasik Gopal, associated with the South African Council of Sport (Sacos). The rebel cricket league rejects the normal cricket initiative under the Sacos-slogan “No normal sport in an abnormal society.” Asvat is named honorary vice president of the organization.
1978
28 April, Asvat is a founding member of Azapo,the black consciousness organization formed after Steve Biko’s death and the banning of BC organizations. He is later elected to the position of Azapo Health Secretary.
1979
Asvat is elected as the President of the Transvaal Cricket Board (TCB).
1980
October, the TCB, let by Asvat, organizes a protest against the opening of a new cricket stadium in Lenasia. Protestors successfully prevented the opening match from occurring at the game, and in the end, there were far more police than spectators in the stadium. The protest is a formative moment in the fight over non-racial cricket.  
1981
Asvat steps down after his second term as president of the TCB, stating that no individual should hold the position for more than two years.
1982
July, the Azapo Health Secretariat announces the formation of the Community Health Awareness Project (CHAP). Through CHAP, Asvat started numerous community and primary health projects, including a mobile clinic which travelled throughout the country to provide basic health care to rural areas and townships.
1983
July, Asvat comes into conflict with the West Rand Administration Board (WRAB) when he rehouses homeless squatters in an abandoned bus. The manager of the Pimville Township, T F Bronkhurst, orders his arrest and expulsion from the squatter camp, under the claim that Asvat was trespassing.  Shortly after this incident, WRAB informed Asvat that he must move his surgery by the end of the month. He refuses to relocate and WRAB eventually allows the surgery to remain in its location opposite Regina Mundi Church.
1984
Asvat hires Albertina Sisuluas his nurse. Despite the political divisions between Azapo and UDF supporters at this time, Asvat and Albertina (the co-president of the United Democratic Front and wife of imprisoned ANC leader Walter Sisulu) developed a close friendship and professional partnership that lasted until the end of his life.
March, CHAP releases a twenty page health manual written by Asvat. The manual provided information on preventive health care, child health, breastfeeding, cholera prevention, as well as patient rights.
June, Azapo health secretariat holds one day free health clinic in Brandfort, Free State, run by Asvat and three fellow anti-apartheid activists/nurses: Thandiwe Myeza, Priscilla Mlambo, and Jennifer Tissong. Though Winnie cannot attend the clinic due to her banning, she provides transportation and food for patients through her organization Operation Hunger. Over 1000 people attend the clinic.
22 August, Police arrest members of the Transvaal Indian Congress, Azapo and the United Democratic Front. They arrive at Asvat’s house, but he is able to evade arrest.
11 September, Asvat suffers a heart attack. In a newspaper interview later, he stated that it happened because of the extreme amount of stress he was facing due to pressure from the police.
October, The Azapo health secretariat and the Black Allied Mining and Construction Workers’ Union launch an anti-asbestos campaign, aiming to raise awareness of the health issues associated with the material, agitate for better wages and compensation for asbestos workers and eventually close all asbestos mines in South Africa.
November, Asvat, along with Yosuf Veriava, produces a medical report on police brutality during township violence from August to November 1984 for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
1985
February, Asvat takes several Protea squatters to Mayor Edward Kunene’s house in a protest against the shack clearances which were occurring in the area.
March, Azapo holds free health clinics in old age homes designed to provide preventive testing for elderly South Africans and provide legal aid for those unable to receive their pensions due to missing passes.
April, The Azapo Health Secretariat, led by Asvat, and the Ikageng Women’s Group launch a free monthly health clinic in Soweto.
July, Asvat and CHAP visit Mathopestad to provide health services.
July, Asvat inspires a team of medical students to lead free health clinics in the area after the CHAP team visits Winterveld, north of Pretoria.
1986
January, Asvat launches a campaign to save forty families from expulsion from their homes in the squatter development at Vlakfontein Farm. Assisted by the Witwatersrand Council of Churches and the Black Lawyers Association, the campaign was successful in convincing the West Rand Development Board to suspend the evictions indefinitely.
March, the National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) holds its first conference, where it calls for black students to return to schools in the township areas. Shortly before the conference, the People’s Educational Committee (PEC) was formed in Lenasia to discuss NECC’s proposals. Soon after its formation, the PEC elects Asvat as its first president.
27 June, arsonists attack Asvat’s home in Lenasia in the middle of the night. The damage from the fire remains limited to his garage and none of his family is hurt in the attack.
1987
Unknown, The Star newspaper in Johannesburg names Asvat a “Star of the Community.” However, Asvat refuses to accept the award as the award ceremony was to take place at an expensive and racially exclusive country club.
Unknown, Two men posing as patients attack Asvat with knives in his surgery. He is able to fight back and survives the attack.
1988
January, the Soweto town council, aided by WRAB, demands that Asvat’s surgery is bulldozed during a clearing of the Chicken Farm settlement. He is forced to relocate the clinic to a house in Rockville.
February, Asvat starts the “Health 2000” program through Azapo. The initiative aimed at improving the health of marginalized and impoverished South Africans and was inspired by Alma-Ata’s year 2000 goals. The projects under the Health 2000 banner emphasized preventive health care, through providing free services such as blood pressure testing, pap-smears and urine testing. 
March, the Azapo health secretariat publishes a pamphlet on preventing the spread of HIV-Aids.
1 July, Dr. Asvat accepts the first annual human rights award from The Indicator, a newspaper based in Lenasia. In his acceptance speech, Asvat urges the audience to break down the barriers which existed between Lenasia and the adjacent township of Soweto.
1989
27 January, two men enter Dr. Asvat’s surgery and shoot him in his consultation room. The wound is fatal and he dies in Albertina Sisulu’s arms.
28 January, in accordance with Islamic tradition, Asvat’s family buries him the day after his death. With less than 24 hours’ notice, thousands of South Africans arrived in Lenasia to attend his funeral. Throughout the funeral procession, South Africans across racial barriers sang struggle songs as they accompanied the “People’s Doctor” to his final resting place in Avalon Cemetery.
29 January-1 February, the press begins to report that Winnie Mandela was claiming that there was a connection between Asvat’s death and the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC)’s abduction of four young boys from a Methodist Church house. According to these reports, Winnie believed someone killed Asvat because he would have been a professional witness to her claims that the boys had been sexually abused while living at the Methodist house.
12 February, Media sources contradict the earlier reports, claiming that there was a connection between Dr. Asvat’s death and the death of Stompie Moeketsi, one of the boys abducted from the Methodist Home. According to these reports, Asvat had examined Stompie the previous December, and insisted that he be taken to a hospital as soon as possible. As a result, Asvat would have been a witness to the Mandela United Football Club’s role in Stompie’s death. These reports spark accusations that Winnie Mandela played a role in Asvat’s death.  
17 February, Police arrest Zakhele Mbatha and Thulani Dlamini,under the accusation of killing Asvat. Police claim that they’re primary motivation was theft, based on their claim that R135 was missing from the clinic.
3 November, the accused killers Zakhele Mbatha and Thulani Dlamini are sentenced to death in a highly publicized murder trial. According to the verdict, their primary motive was to rob the clinic.
1991
24 September, a South African court overturns Mbatha and Dlamini’s death sentence, instead sentencing them to life imprisonment.
1997
November-December, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds a hearing regarding the Mandela United Football Club, and questions whether there was a connection between Winnie Mandela and Asvat’s death.
1998
October, the TRC reports conclude that they do not have enough evidence to confirm any connection between Mandela, the MUFC, and Asvat’s death.
2012
25 February, the Abu Asvat Institute for Nation Building and Azapo co-host the Inaugural Abu Asvat Memorial Lecture in Johannesburg. 

References

  •  Asvat, Dr. Abu Baker, 1984, ‘Asbestos Danger!’ Lenasia Times, November.
  • Asvat, Dr. Abu Baker 1980, ‘Title Unknown,’ Rand Daily Mail, 28 August.
  • Asvat,  Dr. Abu Baker 1987, ‘Tend to the Basic Needs of the Homeless First,’ 20 September.
  • ‘Azapo Helps with Health,’ Lenasia Times, March 1984.
  • Marx, Anthony  1992, Lessons of Struggle, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Molefe, ZB 1984, ‘It’s do- or die!” 14 October.
  • Russel, Cecilia 1997, ‘Shock waves from Albertina’s Testimony,’ The Star, 2 December.
  • Sisulu, Elinor 2003, Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime, London: Abacus.
  • Soske, Jon 2011, ‘The Life and Death of Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, 23 February 1943 to 27 January 1989,’ African Studies, v70 n3: 337-358.
  • ‘Stompie’s Story of Horror,’ The Sunday Star, 12 February 1989.The Crescents Cricket Club 1989, ‘Team Statement,’ The Indicator (Asvat Memorial Edition), 8-15 February.
  •  ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, Volume Two’, South Africa, 29 October 1998. http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/finalreport/Volume%202.pdf
  • Van Niekerk, Phillip 1984, ‘Union calls for Boycott of Asbestos Products,’ Rand Daily Mail, 12 October.