Dawood Parker was the Chairman of the Wynberg Civic Association. He played a prominent role in local civic affairs. He was a leading voice in the struggle against apartheid, injustice and oppression. His outspoken activism brought him into regular confrontation with the police and his home in Cecelia Court was under regular surveillance.

According to Basil Brown, the New Unity Movement President, Dawood first rose to prominence in the 1950s as a leading activist of the anti-Coloured Affairs Department  and the Non-European Unity Movement.  He became well known during his time as secretary of the South Peninsula Educational Fellowship which played an important role exposing students to political ideas and world culture.

The South Peninsula Education Fellowship (SPEF) library was run from the home of Dawood Parker, a non-professional librarian. As a travel agent, Dawood was able to frequent book shops in London and other cities where he placed orders for books banned in South Africa. He used a contact person at the South African customs office to intercept the books and deliver them to his home.

He also bought hundreds of books dumped on Cape Town’s Grand Parade book stalls by nervous members of the public when the government’s list of banned books grew longer and visits from security police became more indiscriminate and frequent. This collection gradually swelled to 15 000 items. He kept book borrowers’ records in old telephone directories stacked under the new one so that raiding police could not discover the identities of readers and what they were reading.

In the early 1980s he played a pivotal role in resuscitating the Unity Movement.  The New Unity Movbement came into being in 1985.  Dawood Parker served as its first joint secretary.

Among the notable events in which he prominently featured are: the successful fight of residents in Troop Road area against the demolition of their homes to accommodate the re-routing of South Road, a June 16 celebration meeting in the Wittebome Civic involving keynote speakers representing liberation movements of all party political persuasions, the hosting of the official launch of the SACOS Sports Festival in 1978, the isolation of a splinter civic body in Wynberg – the Wynberg South Ratepayers and the successful blocking of attempts to have Wynberg declared a separate “own affairs” municipality.

At the time of his death he was an active member of the South Peninsula branch of the movement and served as convener of the National Union of Mineworkers.

He also played a leading role in the New World Film Society.

In recent years he played a significant role in the work ofthe Wynberg Community Police Forum. Dawood Parker passed away in October 2009 after battling with cancer. A memorial service was held for him at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town in November 2009.

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