A Tribute to Abraham Nduru – a man who packed his time on earth with purpose

December 8, 2009

Abraham Nduru was a husband, a father and a friend to many, but to me he was uncle Abe. I had known uncle Abe as long as I have been concious of my own existance. He was tragically killed in an accident on the 14th of November. He was a man of great achievement and was able to pack a great deal of purpose into a short space of time. I am mindful my auntie Lindani and the kids, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss and how desperate I am to be with you to comfort you at this time. Uncle Abe taught me to challenge my containment and to dream beyond the borders, becoming the first black african to qualify as an actuary and inspiring my father to do the same. I am truly honoured and privileged to have been part of your journey uncle Abe. The General Secretary of COSATU in South Africa had these words to say about ucle Abe and I just wanted to honour his memory with these thoughts.

Address by the COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi at the funeral
of Abe Nduru , 21 November 2009

Lindani and your two kids as well as to your family and friends

The parents, brothers and sisters and the family of Abe Nduru

His colleagues and employees

Friends and Comrades

Today as we gather to bid farewell to

Our friend, comrade and confidant!

A husband to Lindani

A father to his kids

A son to his parents

A brother and a family member of the Ndurus and Nogxina family

A Pioneer,

A towering intellectual,

A warrior for the rights of retirement funds members,

An agent of change,

And a man of purpose,

An unassuming man who freely interacted with workers and their bosses
without adjusting his manners and or attitude to fit these different
classes

A man who broke the glass ceiling in South Africa by becoming the first
Black person to qualify as an Actuary. This he did with honours.

His entrepreneurial flair which started when he was young, and he kept
on growing and blossoming. Those who worked with him in the former
Southern Life will testify to his thick voice of an assuming
intellectual equal to his task.

I have known him since the early to mid 90s. He started working with
COSATU during the negotiations on a legislation to distribute pension
fund surplus to former and existing members of retirement funds. He was
part of our negotiating team during very tough negotiations in NEDLAC.

He further worked as a member of the trustee of the Metal Industries
Provident Fund, assisting them in dealing with the distribution of the
Surplus in that Fund. The experience proved invaluable for future
progress in the Employee Benefits Industry.

August 1996, Abe at the insistence of Graham Kerrigan, joined Alexander
Forbes Negotiated Benefit Consultants as the Chief Actuary of the
Negotiated Funds and Financial Director of the Division.

He was pivotal in establishing NBC Holdings as an independent and
autonomous company in April 1998 and ensured with his team that all
clients had the best service.

He retained the confidence of all clients who were in the main union
negotiated funds and became a pillar of this Black owned and managed
Employee Benefit Company.

Abe showed his great concern for the interests of the members when he
highlighted and exposed the subtlety with which reserves were hidden in
actuarial reporting during the transfer of the employees from Colgate
Palmolive to CINPF which is a CEPPWAWU Fund.

Our own union team worked with Abe in this fight and ensured that the
correct benefits were transferred for members.

During the period 1999 to 2000, Abe was part of another change in South
Africa, The Pension Funds Amendment Act.

This Act dealt with the surpluses that were due to members and former
members. He and Nicky Howard from Cheadle Thomson & Haysom worked
tirelessly as advisors of COSATU team led by our  policy unit, in
formulating Labour’s input into this new Pension Amendment  Act of
2001. This Act changed the landscape of the retirement funds industry
completely.

I may add that they did so at no cost to the Federation.

In 2001 changes in NBC led him to resign. He operated for while out of
Veon Bock’s office from where he launched SA Quantum in September 2002.

He then, with a few staff members and against all odds developed a
vision that created a successful business with a staff compliment in
excess of 100.

Abraham was a fighter who did not know the meaning of taking risk. He
was bold and had guts to always take new initiatives. No one can dare
contradict us when we call him a pioneer. As an African, Abe has gone
where no one in the Employee Benefits Industry in South Africa had gone
before.

He introduced self insurance in the Mining Sector Funds. Through this he
saved members and trustees hundreds millions of Rands. He was a true
innovator. No problem was too big for him and with Abe there was always
a solution.

Abe commanded the respect of his clients, his peers and his staff. He
was a person whom especially workers could relate to because of his
ability to talk in simple language to everyone. Never did he boast about
his accomplishments.

He was an extraordinarily capable man, extraordinarily unique. The idea
that all people have value profoundly influenced him.

The death of Abe few days ago is a hard blow, to his family, the labour
movement, his friends and the retirement fund industry. Without any
doubt it deprived us of one of the most gifted and capable person.

One of Abe’s most wonderful and striking qualities was his capacity to
think “Out of the Box”. He had a way of turning the problems of this
world around and examining them from what was often the most unusual
perspectives.

It was as if he had the gift of seeing things in ways that most us
simply didn’t.

How must we face this loss? What would be Abe’s opinion if he had to
make a judgement on this matter? I guess he would rather want us to
celebrate his life and not mourn.

He would want us to move forward to a “Better life for all!”

I am saying so even though I have no clue how we would move ahead
confronting new battles without this young giant. It was too soon and
completely unfair on all accounts. We’ve lost a friend; we’ve lost a
champion, and it is going to take some time to adjust to this reality.

Abe your presence will be missed!

HAMBE KAHLE ABE!

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5 Responses to “A Tribute to Abraham Nduru – a man who packed his time on earth with purpose”


  1. He was a very humble and respectable man, i remember growing up as kids in Zengeza 2 and he was breaking all academic records in high school and at the UZ in academic achievements and we would all want to emulate the man,that was Bla Luba as we called him..
    may he rest in peace, he was indeed a pioneer in all aspects…

  2. Basil Says:

    May your soul R.I.P. Luba, You’ve inspired a generation.

  3. wellington 'dwight' phiri Says:

    Though l never knew you personally l got to know you through my peers who hold you in high regards even to this day.Through them l began to appreciate you significance and you became my role model in absentia .To attain the feats you were at is my lifelong desire .On behalf of my family and those who share the same sentiments l say rest in eternal peace until we meet again.

  4. den Says:

    abraham was a very rich man, now just look at his parents ,how they are now living.its heartbreaking to know that they are now begging for money from their neighbours in order to survive


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