Gengamma Chetty (78) also known as Aunty Ruby from Sea Park died recently.
Gengamma Chetty, also known as Ruby Chetty was born on a small farm in Sea Park on January 5 1939 to John Chinniah and Nagammah Pillay.
Both her parents were descendants of indentured labourers from the city of Pondicherry in India. Having completed their period of indenture, they chose to remain in South Africa and migrated south of Durban to build a new life. John Chinniah was known to be a hard worker and an entrepreneur, growing and selling vegetables.
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He later went on to become a chef at the Southport Hotel where he was praised for his dedication and commitment to his duties. At a time when racial discrimination was at its peak, John Chinniah earned the love and respect of all people, in particular black African people, who gave him the nickname ‘Ama Zambaan’, for he always had a charitable heart and was often seen feeding weary African travellers and passers-by with potato chips from the hotel. Often he gave them his own meal .
Soon John Chinniah had enough money to purchase the smallholding in Sea Park, which remains the family home to this day. It was on this farm that Gengamma (popularly known as Aunty Ruby ) was born.
She was part of a larger extended family and had two brothers and a sister, all of whom contributed to the growth and development of the farm.
She grew up in a simple traditional way without any western education. There were no schools in the area at the time but she was a keen learner and was taught by the elders to read and write in Tamil. She was fascinated by her unique culture and way of life and became a deeply religious and spiritual person learning all the prayers, customs and traditions passed down from her elders.
Her son, Selvan Chetty said when her children came along, she brought them up with respect and to…