24/10/2012 - Mr Linda Twala Recognises GOTG's Service in Alexandra

Community leader, Mr Linda Twala from Phudadi, in Alexandra, hands over a prized picture of Nelson Mandela burning his pass book during the apartheid era. This gift was in recognition of the extensive service by Gift of the Givers to the Alex community over several years with special emphasis on the increased assistance in 2012 in commemoration of the 100 years of Alexandra this year.

Helping the needy is a lifelong commitment for Linda Twala. The respected businessman is the grandson of the township’s first residents.

IN 1986, at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle, the security police threw hand grenades into the home of Linda Twala, the Alexandra philanthropist, on 17th Street; his three teenage daughters were inside.

He had bought groceries for his mother, loaded them into his bakkie and had set out for her house. While there, a phone call warned him that his house was under attack and he should go into hiding. But he couldn't flee – first, he had to find out whether his daughters were safe.

"The house was up in flames, the cars were up in flames. The police had instructed the fire brigade not to put out the fire," he says. There was R12 000 in the house which was lost; the family dog was shot dead by the police. But the Twala daughters were safe – they had dashed from the house into the dog's asbestos kennel and had been rescued by neighbours.

Twala had been the organiser of the Save Alex Campaign in 1979 – Alexandra was established in 1912 and had been threatened with demolition many times before – and he was still monitored by the security police in the 1980s. He was one of several prominent Alexandrans who had their houses bombed during those turbulent years.

"After the bombing I had nothing to wear. Old ladies brought me shirts," he recalls.

He is still living in Alexandra.

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