Dr Previn Manilal 2008

Dr Priyavadan ‘Previn’ Manilal is a retired primary health physician and is a well known medical and civil society figure in Port Elizabeth. Born in Mumbai, India, and educated at the University of Cape Town, he became a prominent and influential anti-apartheid doctor and human rights activist in the 1970s.

His dedicated involvement in campaigning against discredited apartheid-imposed local government structures during the 1970s and eighties in Port Elizabeth helped to ensure that the apartheid government was unable to successfully impose the policy of so-called “Separate Development”;  and thus, laid the basis for our current democratic system.  Dr Manilal joined up with Dr Jay Moodliar and others to form a reputable and well known private practice in Korsten, Port Elizabeth, which became a legendary medical centre for providing healthcare treatment to literally thousands of patients, particularly from black and disadvantaged communities throughout the eighties and nineties.  Here, the practice provided medical care, often at no cost to especially poor people, and political activists under constant police harassment during the apartheid days.  They were unofficially known as the ‘People’s Doctors’.

In the early 1980s, Previn played a leading role in the formation of the United Democratic Front (UDF), serving as its first Vice-President of the Eastern Cape region, and campaigned to isolate the apartheid government and its policies.

After the transition to democracy, Dr Manilal retired and became very involved in the promotion of the Hindu culture in the Metro as well as the promotion of Hindi as a language of instruction.  He is also associated with the Pan South African Language Board and Moral Regeneration Movement which both play an important role in the promotion of multilingualism and moral leadership in post-apartheid South Africa.

Dr Manilal is married to Prabavati and lives in Port Elizabeth. They have three children, Kalpena, Deena and Deepa, all of who are professionals in psychology, dentistry and law respectively.  He has an active interest in readings into philosophy, biographies and novels, and also takes a keen interest in table-tennis, swimming and travelling to many parts of the world.

For his contribution especially in the area of Port Elizabeth in the spheres of good values, honour, compassion, social justice, democracy and solidarity, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is honoured to present Dr Previn Manilal with the Council Prestige Award.