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Albert Lutuli
lutuli luthuli kwazulu-natal

1. Introduction

Inkosi Albert John Luthuli (very often spelt Lutuli;[1] c. 1898 – 21 July 1967), also known by his Zulu name Mvumbi (English language: continuous rain),[2] was a South Africa n teacher, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and politician. Luthuli was elected president of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1952. At this time, an umbrella organisation that led opposition to the white minority government in South Africa. Luthuli ended up serving until his accidental death. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid. He was the first person of African heritage to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Luthuli was a lay preacher of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) based at its Groutville Congregational Church in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, where Luthuli was laid to rest upon his passing in 1967.[3]

2. Early Life

Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli was born in Solusi Mission Station near Bulawayo, in Southern Rhodesia, which is modern-day Zimbabwe. While his date of birth remains unknown, he later calculated his year of birth to be 1898. His father, John Bunyan Luthuli, was the younger son of a tribal chief at Groutville in the Umvoti Mission Reserve near Stanger, Natal. He became a Christian missionary at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and at the time of Albert's birth, was working as an interpreter among the Matabele of Rhodesia. His mother, Mtonya Gumede, spent part of her childhood in the household of Cetewayo kaMpande, the king of the Zulu Kingdom, but was mostly raised in Groutville. John Bunyan Luthuli, Albert's father, died when Albert was a young child.[4] Sometime between 1906 and 1908. Albert was the couple's third child. He had two other siblings, Alfred Nsusana (the eldest child), and Mpangwa (who died at birth). [5]

3. Schooling

The Luthuli family owned fifteen acres of land in Southern Rhodesia that his father, John, had previously bought. They remained in Southern Rhodesia until 1908 where they moved to the Vryheid district in Natal, South Africa. His older brother Alfred became an interpreter for a Seventh Day Adventist mission. Because there were no schools in Vryheid that Albert was allowed to attend, his mother sent him to Groutville, Natal where he lived in the household of his uncle, Martin Luthuli, who had succeeded his grandfather as the tribal chief. Martin was the first democratically elected chief, the translator and interpreter of the Zulu royal house, as well as the founder of the Natal Native Congress and the African Native National Congress, now named the African National Congress. Martin provided Albert with early knowledge of African politics which helped aid him in his career as a politician and activist. [6]

Groutville was a small community of Christian peasant farmers and was attached to the mission station of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABM). The ABM was a Congregationalist that began their mission work in Southern Africa in the 1830s. Missionary Aldin Grout began his mission station in the village of Umvoti, after his death it would be renamed Groutville in his honor. His first converts to Christianity was Albert's grandparents, Ntaba ka Madunjini and Titisi Mthethwa. REFERENCES. In 1911, supported by his mother who paid Albert's school fees by selling vegetables from her garden and taking in laundry from white families in the nearby town of Stanger (now KwaDukuza). Albert entered the local Congregationalist mission school, Groutville Primary. Here he studied until standard four. Living with his uncle, he also imbibed tribal traditions and values. [7]

In 1914, Albert was shifted to Ohlange Institute. It was a boarding school, run by Dr. John Dube, the founding President of the South African Native National Council and here he studied for two terms. On passing the year-end examination at Ohlange Institute, Albert was transferred to a Methodist institution at Edendale, near Pietermaritzburg to undergo a teachers' training course. Albert was one of the many pupils who briefly left the school to protest the disciplanary code that required the students to carry stones from the river. Albert then realized that this act of rebellion could have drastic consequences. Because they left Edendale, the boys were subject to pass laws and curfew laws and risked arrest by the South African Police. Albert was later readmitted to the institution despite the previous brush up, and he developed a love for teaching at Edendale. He graduated from there in 1917. [7]

4. Teaching

On completing a teaching course at Edendale, near Pietermaritzburg, Luthuli accepted the post of principal and only teacher at a primary school in rural Blaauwbosch, Newcastle, Natal. Here Luthuli was confirmed in the Congregational Church and became a lay preacher. In 1920 he received a government bursary to attend a higher teachers' training course at Adams College, and subsequently joined the training college staff, teaching alongside Z. K. Mathews, who was then head of the Adams College High School. [8]

Luthuli was determined to bring education to the African population and headed the Teachers' College at Adams where he would train future teachers and travel by motorbike to teach at different institutions. With Z.K. Matthews he cofounded the African Teachers' Association, an organization that sought higher wages. As a teacher, he taught Zulu history, Zulu music, and Zulu literature. He cofounded the Zulu Cultural and Language Society to promote Zulu history and culture among the young Zulu population. The Zulu Cultural and Language Society also promoted Zulu as the language of use for primary education. [9]

Passionate about music, Luthuli and his student, Reuben Caluza, founded the Adams College School of Music in 1935 and led choirs all throughout Natal. Luthuli would conduct the Sunday church choir and give sermons, and as leader of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), would interract with YMCA missioanry Max Yergan, who admired Luthuli for expanding the work of the YMCA. [9]

5. Tribal Chief

In 1933 the tribal elders asked Luthuli to become chief of a Christian branch of the Zulu tribe to replace the unpopular Chief Josiah Mqwebu who had replaced Martin Luthuli in 1921. For two years he hesitated, Luthuli enjoyed teaching and the salary as a chief was only 20% of that he gets as a teacher at Adams. Some of his peers also believed that Luthuli, one of the first African teachers at Adams would abandon his post that prepared young Africans for modern society to accept a position as a Chieftain that was seen as "traditional." Despite this, he accepted the call in December of 1935 and became a chieftain in the year of 1936. [10]

As a chieftain, Luthuli would practice the philosophy of Ubuntu. Ubuntu recognized the humanity and interdependence of every person. Luthuli governed with democracy, wisdom, integrity, and empathy. Luthuli understood that the position of chief was to be responsive to the needs of the people. Luthuli was seen as a chief of and by, not above, his people. He would lead the dancing and singing at community festivals. One community member remembered Luthuli as a "man of the people [who] had a very strong influence over the community. He was a people’s chief." [11]

Luthuli would make frequent visits as chief to the Zulu royal capital in Ulundi. Here, he would meet with other chiefs and prominent Zulu elders. Luthuli worked with his InDuna, childhood friend Robbins Guma, as well as a council of amakholwa (converted Christians) and amabhinca elders (traditionalists) on judicial matters. Luthuli included women, who were regarded as social and legal minors, in his democratic consultations. Luthuli also facilitated the economic advancement of women by disregarding the government prohibition of beer brewing and selling by operating unlicensed bars known as Shebeens. [11]

He held this position until he was removed from his office by the Apartheid government in 1953. Their having done so notwithstanding, amongst his people he retained the use of the dignity "chief" as a pre-nominal style for the remainder of his life.

6. Segregation in South Africa

6.1. Land Acts

To counter the 1913 and 1936 Land Acts which led to Black dislocation and impoverishment, Chief Luthuli attempted to nurture his community. The Land Acts were part of the violence related to segregation in South Africa. Africans were stripped of their land and poverty was increasing within the African community due to many Black South Africans having to travel to urban areas further away to be able to work. This also separated families further. Luthuli noted the disparity that whites needed 375 acres per person to live comfortably, yet African families were only to get 6 acres total. The small amount of land that African families had would eventually lead to soil exhaustion, the land had a lack of adequate ground for grazing, and there would be little inheritable land for future African children [12]

Luthuli was fervently against the land rehabilitation scheme of the government. This forced African farmers to sell their surplus cattle at a reduced cost to white farmers who had much more land where they could incorporate their newly acquired cattle and gain more wealth. Luthuli stated “ your solution is to take our cattle away today because you took our land yesterday.” He goes on to say that cattle are cherished possessions and a source of income for many Africans, and removing that source of income represents an economic act of violence against Africans. [12]

6.2. Sugar Act

In 1936, the government's sugar act attempted to keep sugar prices high by limiting the number of farmers who can produce it. This act disproportionately hurt African sugar-cane farmers who lived substantially lower than the poverty line. Unlike their white counterparts, African farmers held insufficient land as well as having no legal title. This means that they could not use their land as security for short-term loans to buy products such as machinery and fertilizer which led to the offsetting cost of planting, harvesting, and sending the sugar to the mill. [13]

South African officials insisted that the cause of African poverty was due to the inefficient African agricultural techniques, not the inadequate land. Luthuli's status as chief positioned him to observe the fallacious claims of the government, the deepening poverty of the Groutville community, the negative effects of African disfranchisement, taxation without representation, land scarcity and economic insecurity. [14]

Luthuli immediately revived the Groutville Bantu Cane Growers' Association. A group of nearly two-hundred small-scale cane growers that successfully lobbied the millers to advance money that would allow African farmers to meet production costs upfront. Luthuli also chaired the Natal and Zululand Bantu Cane Growers' Association, bringing nearly all African sugarcane producers into one union. His tour of America in 1948 enabled him to acquire a tractor that helped boost agricultural production by local farmers, some farmers increased their margins enough to send their children to school. [15]

Jordan Ngubane, a South African intellectual who studied at Adams under Luthuli and later became his personal secretary and political ally, credited Luthuli with promoting economic development, increasing agricultural efficiency and sending young Africans to schools and universities. [15]

7. Pre-Apartheid Activism

The Atlantic Charter was issued in August 1941 by American president Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill that laid out the American and British war goals during World War II and their postwar aspirations. Among other things, the Atlantic Charter declared the right of all people to self-determination and restoring self government. Despite the charter, Churchill and South African prime minister Jan Smuts claimed that self-determination had applied only to countries occupied by fascist powers, not to European colonial possessions and South Africa. Because of this, Luthuli and other Africans began to believe that supporting Smuts in the war against Germany represented nothing more than choosing between two white supremacist regimes. In 1943, the ANC published African Claims, demanding the right of African self-determination, a bill of rights, racial equality, universal suffrage and nonracial citizenship for blacks in South Africa. [16]

In 1946, Luthuli assumed the council duty in the Native Representative Council (NRC), an advisory body to the government. Luthuli reiterated his demands made in African Claims and continued his longstanding complaints about inadequate African land, comments that enraged the white NRC chairman. With the support of fellow councilors, Luthuli protested the state's use of force to suppress a massive African mineworker's strike, as well as condemning "the reactionary character of the Union Native Policy," which exposed the South African government's post war continuation of a policy of fascism which is the exact opposite of the Atlantic Charter. [17]

Luthuli claimed that the government was deaf to African groans of pain in response to oppressive segregationist measures. Luthuli would later say that the NRC was a "toy telephone" requiring him to "shout a little louder" to no one, and African councilors then adjourned in protest. The NRC never met after that point and the government dissolved it in 1952. [17]

8. Anti-Apartheid Activism

The unexpected victory of the National Party in May 1948 made Apartheid the official state policy until 1994. Founded in 1933 by Dutch Reformed Church minister and newspaper editor Daniel François Malan, the National Party was the party of the resurgent Afrikaner ethno-nationalism that sought cultural autonomy, and explicit political measures to ensure Afrikaner power and identity to counter the British political and economic dominance and African numerical superiority. Many pro-Nazi Afrikaners, including future apartheid prime ministers Johannes Strydom and John Vorster had opposed South African military and economic contributions to the Allied cause against Hitler's Germany, engaging in activities that caused their detention during the war. The close proximity of working-class Africans and Afrikaners renewed fears of racial mixing and prompted calls for policies that would ensure Afrikaner racial separation and preservation. Jan Smuts of the United Party who had previously trounced the Nationalists in the 1943 election, won the popular vote in 1948 but because of greater electoral weight given to rural districts, which voted heavily for the National Party, the National Party squeezed out an improbable victory. [18]

8.1. Trip to the United States

In June 1948, Luthuli traveled to the U.S. for seven months, during which he addressed numerous churches, youth groups, civic groups, and others about the progress of the Natal American Board missions, African rural development, and racial reconciliation. This was not his first overseas trip. In 1938, Luthuli had traveled to Madras, India, as part of an interracial Christian delegation to an international missionary conference. Despite the fact that South African segregation traveled outside their borders due to white delegates traveling first class and the four African delegates traveling second class, Luthuli toured India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), met Indian, Japanese, Chinese and African Christian leaders, and returned "with wider sympathies and wider horizons." [19]

Luthuli's tour of the United States took place during the 1948 presidential election when President Harry Truman put forth a mild but unprecedented civil rights agenda that sparked the "Dixiecrat" revolt of southern segregationists. Luthuli hoped that African Americans who unlike Black South Africans had constitutional rights, would ultimately triumph over Jim Crow practices and that the U.S. would be a positive model of multiracial democracy for his own country. [19]

Luthuli toured the South on Jim Crow trains to visit the historically black universities of Howard, Atlanta, Tuskegee, and Virginia State. He remarked, "I have such a great desire to visit my people in the South that I would have been awfully disappointed to return to Africa without doing so." At Howard, Luthuli lectured students on African history, met African students, marveled at the library's giant collection on Africa, and was hosted by members of Washington's black community. During his lectures Luthuli would explain the enduring values of Zulu traditional society, Zulu religious concepts, and Zulus' respect for law and order. While at Virginia State and Tuskegee, Luthuli visited black farmers and discussed sustainable agricultural methods he also initiated conversations with rural parents and children about the quality of education. [20]

In Virginia with his host, Dr. Samuel Gandy, a restaurant did not allow Luthuli and Gandy to eat on its premises. Upon learning that Luthuli was a South African, they declared Luthuli an "honorary white," telling him he could stay, but not Gandy. Both men left in disgust. Luthuli remarked that his tour of the south had a profound effect on him, and allowed him to "see South African issues more sharply, and in a different and larger perspective." Luthuli's national tour reminded him of the transnational presence of white supremacy: "those moments—a door closed in one’s face, a restaurant where a cup of coffee has been refused—that jolt the black man back to the realization that, almost everywhere he travels, race prejudice will not let him be at home in the world." Luthuli left America in February 1949 having felt the sting of American Jim Crow but also encouraged by African-American progress. [21]

In Luthuli's view, the apartheid government and their white supporters had pirated the land, wealth, and government. He also believes the apartheid government claimed ownership of the African majority, virtually enslaving them through the apartheid laws. Africans were the "livestock which went with the estate, objects rather than subjects," nothing more than political footballs being passed around by the National Party and their white parliamentary rivals.

8.2. Congress of the People

Despite being recently hampered by a stroke, Luthuli was able to plan the Congress of the People, a gathering that brought thousands of members of all the racial and political congresses across South Africa together. Held in 1955 at Kliptown, on the now symbolic date of 26 June, and lasting for two days, a manifesto of the liberation struggle, known as the Freedom Charter, was unanimously approved. This document received enormous press coverage, and was the apex of the non-violent liberation movement thus far. The major theme of the Freedom Charter, was that South Africa belonged to all who lived in it. The exact opposite of what the apartheid regime believed. Speaking much later, Luthuli claimed that: "The African people do not want crumbs. They demand what is their rightful heritage in the land of their birth--Africa. Our demand is, and always will be-- 'back from tribalism; forward to a nonracial democracy." [22] Luthuli was not able to attend the Congress of the People due to a previous stroke, heart attack, and government prevention, but the recovering Luthuli sent a recorded speech to the audience in Kliptown in which he proclaimed the Freedom Charter as a Magna Carta that would lead to an actual South African parliament where everyone has a voice. [23]

9. Career in the ANC

Prior to Luthuli's involvement with the African National Congress (ANC) Luthuli also had served on the executive committee of the Christian Council of South Africa. Luthuli was one of its delegates to an International Missionary Conference held in Madras, India, in 1938.

In 1944, Luthuli joined the African National Congress (ANC), partially out of respect for the recently deceased Natal ANC president John Dube. During the 1930s, the ANC was virtually dead, but ANC president Dr. Aldred Xuma had reinvigorated the party. During the December 1948 conference, the ANC Youth Leaguers such as A.P. Mda, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, and Oliver Tambo argued that the beginning of the apartheid regime forced the ANC to move beyond constitutional methods. They proposed a Program of Action that consisted of civil disobedience tactics, including strikes and boycotts. Before the December 1949 ANC annual conference, they challenged Xuma to move beyond the constitutional measures to fight apartheid, but he refused. Inspired by Kwame Nkrumah's anticolonial stance in the Gold Coast, the Youth Leaguers seized control of the ANC at the 1949 conference, as delegates voted to adopt the program of action. Delegates also voted the Youth League's candidate, Dr. James Moroka, who defeated Dr. Xuma. Sisulu became ANC secretary-general and Luthuli would lead the execution of the Program of Action in Natal. [24]

After initial reservations about African-Indian collaboration after the January 1949 Durban riots, where some Africans were frustrated by the perceived arrogance and discrimination of Indians toward them and began to attack Indians, Luthuli participated in a joint-action campaign with the South African Indian Congresses. This included a one-day strike on May 1, 1950, where the South African police killed at least eighteen unarmed, nonviolent protesters, and a multiracial one-day stay at home on June 26, 1950, to protest the Group Areas Act and the Suppression of Communism Act. [25]

After resigning from the Natal ANC shortly after the protests, ANC leaders in Transvaal and Natal, specifically the Youth League leaders M.B. Yengwa and Wilson Conco, and Jordan Ngubane, the editor of the African newspaper Inkundla ya Bantu, persuaded Luthuli to stand as Natal ANC president at the 1951 Natal ANC conference. Yengwa noted that the Natal ANC president, Allison Wessels George (A.W.G.) Champion, wasn't prepared to cooperate with the Indians, and that Africans had no alternative but to work with them because they shared a common enemy. On May 3, 1951, Luthuli became the Natal ANC president and defeated A.W.G. Champion in a contentious election.[26]

9.1. Defiance Campaign

Luthuli became a national figure during the 1952 Defiance Campaign, a multiracial mobilization to resist apartheid led by the ANC, the SAIC, and the Coloured Peoples Convention (CPC). Luthuli led protests against the Pass Laws, Group Areas Act, Separate Voters' Representation Act, Suppression of Communism Act, and the Bantu Authorities Act. The Defiance Campaign modeled themselves after the non-violent methods of Gandhi which helped India achieve independence from Great Britain, as well as modeling themselves after the Indian resistance movements against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act, 1946 which disenfranchised Indian South Africans and restricted their ownership of land. Luthuli was committed to the idea of satyagraha and felt he had the power to mobilize the masses and end apartheid. Luthuli stated "We have declared to the world that we do not mean to use violence in furtherance of our cause. We will always follow the path of peace and non- violence in our legitimate demands for freedom."

Luthuli traveled throughout Natal to organize the Defiance Campaign in Natal. The Natal Campaign began on August 1952 as a joint ANC-SAIC endeavor, marking the first large scale cooperation between Africans, Indians, and other racial groups in the province. Luthuli rallied thousands of people as Africans and Indians would defy segregation practices by using public facilities meant for Whites only, and Africans would defy the curfew laws in Durban. Over nine thousand people of all races went to jail for defying the apartheid laws. Overall, the Defiance Campaign lived up to its name. However, the apartheid government would soon use brute force to eliminate what they considered "subversive" activity. Although the Defiance Campaign didn't lead to any apartheid laws being repealed, it did lead to a dramatic increase in ANC membership from twenty-five thousand members in 1951 to one hundred thousand at the end of the Defiance Campaign.

The Defiance Campaign was significant for the Natal Province where the memories of the Durban riots reinforced mutual suspicion and hostility between Indians and Africans. Even Gandhi and his son, Manilal Gandhi, exhibited racial antagonism toward Africans. Despite this, Luthuli's inclusive leadership style, admiration for Gandhi's satyagraha method, and close relationships with Indian leaders including Manilal Gandhi, led to unprecedented cooperation between Africans and Indians and quelling any distrust between the two communities. REFERENCES

9.2. Tenure as ANC President

On August 1952, South African officials concluded that Luthuli's Defiance Campaign conflicted with his chiefly duties to administer and enforce government laws. Summoning Luthuli to Pretoria, Secretary of Native Affairs, Dr. W.W.M. Eiselen ordered Luthuli to resign from the ANC or his chieftain post. When two months passed, Luthuli refused to choose, and the government stripped him of his chieftainship, which included benefits such as paid school fees for his children. Luthuli insisted that a chief is a servant of their people not an agent of the government, so Africans assist the organization which fights for the well-being and rights of their people. REFERENCES.

At the ANC annual conference in December 1952, ANC delegates were impressed by Luthuli's "defiance of the government," and elected him ANC president over Moroka, who disavowed ANC policies in court after being arrested during the Defiance Campaign. Luthuli had taken the mantle of an organization where fifty-two leaders were banned, and twenty leaders and over eight thousand volunteers were convicted for Defiance Campaign activities. Luthuli visited national ANC branches throughout the country. In Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, twenty-five thousand people came to hear him speak against South African prime minister Malan and the apartheid system.

In response to the Defiance Campaign, apartheid South Africa evolved further toward a police state, handing out bans which forced the Eastern Cape ANC branch underground and led to police raids of the homes of campaign leaders, including Luthuli, with the goal of confiscating Defiance Campaign documents, membership cards, and other files. With the introduction of the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1953, the country is able to declare states of emergency; suspend the rule of law; expand its arrest powers; and place restrictions on freedoms of speech, assembly, and movement. The judiciary was another instrument of domination, as the government convicted fifteen Defiance Campaign leaders in Port Elizabeth for violating the Suppression of Communism Act. [27]

Luthuli condemned the National Party's "fascist dictatorship" and their "Anti-Defiance Acts." Luthuli lamented that apartheid was a "chain of bondage" that left Africans "prisoners in their own castle," nevertheless he celebrated the domestic and international support for the Defiance Campaign's fight for democracy and fundamental human rights which then would achieve racial harmony bringing South Africa into modern civilization. He felt that only an inclusive African nationalism, expressed by ANC-led multiracial coalition, could defeat apartheid and create an inclusive and democratic South Africa. Unlike the African nationalism of other South African anti-apartheid activists, Luthuli did not present whites and other racial groups as foreigners, but as permanent South African citizens. [28]

Escalating violence marked the 1950s. Luthuli and others advocating for Gandhian nonviolent protests clashed with younger militants willing to consider armed self-defense in debates that surged during the Defiance Campaign. On November 9, 1952, after giving a sermon which compared apartheid South Africa with Nazi Germany, the police fired on ANC supporters praying with the Defiance Campaigners in East London's Duncan Village which would later be known as Black Sunday. Africans responded by burning government facilities. In the chaos, a few whites died, but militarized police killed two hundred-plus Duncan villagers, according to estimates. This event raised doubts within the ANC on whether civil disobedience was effective. Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and A.P. Mda, and the ANC Executive discussed the armed self-defense strategy and critiqued what seemed to be a "useless" nonviolent strategy, but for the time being they believed it would be "politically wise" to maintain a nonviolent strategy. [29]

From the beginning of his presidency, Luthuli reckoned with concerns about communist influence in the ANC. Jordan Ngubane believed that Luthuli was the right leader for the ANC and its African nationalism and the right person to execute its Program of Action along with the Gandhian satyagraha methods of nonviolence. Luthuli was not opposed to the ANC creating multiracial connections, but Ngubane cautioned Luthuli about the negative impact of the ANC left wing, claiming that communists and leftists could impose their ideologies on African people who wanted African nationalism. He also pointed out that non-European leaders, notably in the Transvaal, will only adhere to nonviolence temporarily and feared that nonviolence could fall out of favor for armed self-defense. Luthuli believed that African nationalism and the resistance movements of the Indian National Congress of India were not communism but were ideas and methods of the ANC. [30]

9.3. Relation with the Indian Anti-Apartheid Movement

Luthuli's previous coordination with the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) president G.M. Naicker, vice president J.N. Singh, and future NIC vice president Ismail Meer during the Defiance Campaign lessened the previous animosity that lingered following the Durban Riots between the African and Indian community. As the president of the ANC, Luthuli built an alliance based on friendship between the communities. He organized a mass rally of several thousand people in Durban to protest the lack of educational facilities and opportunities for African and Indian children before police threw him in jail. Undeterred from his time in jail, Luthuli presided over an ANC-NIC joint meeting in Durban to protest the Public Safety Bill and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill. Luthuli and Naicker started a joint ANC-NIC protest statement and the ANC invited the NIC to join a planned stay-at-home during the national elections in April 1953, using the same nonviolent tactics used recently by the bus boycotters in Johannesburg. Under growing government threats to send Indian South Africans back to India, Luthuli addressed NIC conferences critiquing the Natives Land Acts, the Group Areas Act, and the Urban Areas Act as the primary reason as to why Africans have a lack of urban property which Luthuli compared to Nazi Germany. [31]

Naicker followed the call of Luthuli, "our President-General," to commemorate June 26, 1953—the third anniversary of the murder of Africans peacefully protesting by government forces, and the first anniversary of the Defiance Campaign—as Freedom Day, and urged all the NIC branches to participate. This day became a sacred day of service and rededicated the commitment to the freedom struggle in South Africa. [31]

10. Bans

Albert Luthuli during his Oslo visit in 1961.

In May 1953, the apartheid regime banned Luthuli and claimed that his political activities promoted hostility in the Union of South Africa between the European inhabitants and the non-European inhabitants of the Union. This ban confined Luthuli in Groutville and the surrounding district of Stanger as well as prohibiting him from entering major South African cities, making speeches, visiting the ANC, and attending political meetings or public gatherings (which the classified as five people or more together in the same space). Special Branch police increased their raids of Luthuli's house in search of "subversive" documents, and Minister of Native Affairs Hendrik Verwoerd denounced him in Parliament as a dangerous radical championing equal rights, and Prime Minister Malan called the ANC a terrorist group "on the pattern of the Mau Mau" in Kenya. South African authorities expressed their disappointment that Luthuli, previously regarded as a "good Native," had now been bought by the Indians and was under "Communist influence." [32]

Another five-year ban confined him to a 15-mile (24 km) radius of his home. The ban was temporarily lifted while he testified at the continuing treason trials. It was lifted again in March 1960, to permit his arrest for publicly burning his pass following the Sharpeville massacre. In the ensuing state of emergency he was arrested, found guilty, fined, given a suspended jail sentence, and finally returned to Groutville. One final time the ban was lifted, this time for 10 days in early December 1961, to permit Luthuli and his wife to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo, an award described by Die Transvaler as "an inexplicable pathological phenomenon".[33]

11. UMkhonto We Sizwe

In December 1961, without Luthuli's sanction, Nelson Mandela of the Provincial ANC publicly launched uMkhonto we Sizwe at the All In Conference, where delegates from several movements had convened to discuss cooperation. Mandela's charisma and the global publicity surrounding his trial and imprisonment upstaged Luthuli, who grew increasingly despondent in isolation. (In Mandela's autobiography, he claims that Luthuli was consulted and consented before the formation of uMkhonto we Sizwe.) [34]

In 1962, the following events took place:

  • He was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow by the students, serving until 1965. Since he was banned from travelling to Glasgow the Luthuli Scholarship Fund was set up by the Student Representative Council to enable a black South African student to study at Glasgow University.
  • He published an autobiography entitled Let My People Go.

A fourth ban, to run for five years confining Luthuli to the immediate vicinity of his home, was issued in May 1964, to run concurrently with the third ban.

In 1966, he was visited by United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was visiting South Africa at the time. The two discussed the ANC's struggle. Senator Kennedy's visit to the country, and his meeting with Luthuli in particular, caused an increase of world awareness of the plight of black South Africans.[35]

12. Personal Life

In 1927, he married Nokukhanya Bhengu, the granddaughter of the Zulu chief, Dhlokolo of the Ngcolosi.[36] Seven children were born to the couple.[37] Luthuli spent his last years in enforced isolation while African National Congress abandoned the policy of nonviolence. He also suffered from high blood pressure, once having a slight stroke. As he grew older, his hearing and eyesight also became impaired.[38]

On 21 July 1967, Luthuli was fatally injured when he was struck by a freight train while walking across a trestle bridge over the Umvuti River near his home in Stanger (now KwaDukuza).[39]

13. Veneration and Legacy

Statue of Albert Lutuli at Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Luthuli is honoured with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on 21 July, the day of his death in 1967.[40]

Luthuli Street in Nairobi, famous for its electronic shops, is named in his honour.[41]

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. "Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli | South African History Online". 
  2. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1960" (in en-US). 
  3. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1960" (in en-US). 
  4. Albert's age when his father died is not known with certainty
  5. Vinison 2018, p. 15.
  6. Vinison 2018, p. 16,18.
  7. Vinison 2018, p. 20.
  8. Vinison 2018, p. 20-21.
  9. Vinison 2018, p. 21.
  10. Vinison 2018, p. 24-25.
  11. Vinison 2018, p. 25.
  12. Vinison 2018, p. 27.
  13. Vinison 2018, p. 28.
  14. Vinison 2018, p. 28-29.
  15. Vinison 2018, p. 29.
  16. Vinison 2018, p. 30.
  17. Vinison 2018, p. 31.
  18. Vinison 2018, p. 32-33.
  19. Vinison 2018, p. 34.
  20. Vinison 2018, p. 34-36.
  21. Vinison 2018, p. 37.
  22. Woodson 1986, p. 351.
  23. Vinison 2018, p. 61.
  24. Vinison 2018, p. 39.
  25. Vinison 2018, p. 39-40.
  26. Vinison 2018, p. 40.
  27. Vinison 2018, p. 48.
  28. Vinison 2018, p. 49.
  29. Vinison 2018, p. 53.
  30. Vinison 2018, p. 54.
  31. Vinison 2018, p. 50.
  32. Vinison 2018, p. 52.
  33. Amanda Porterfield, Healing in the History of Christianity, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 139.
  34. "Albert Luthuli". 
  35. "Remembering RFK's Visit To 'The Land of Apartheid'" (in en). 
  36. "Nokukhanya Luthuli | South African History Online". 
  37. "Nokukhanya Luthuli | South African History Online". 
  38. "Albert John Luthuli | South African leader" (in en). 
  39. "Winner of '60 Peace Prize Is Train Victim", Chicago Tribune, 22 July 1967, pp. 2–10.
  40. Surratt, Beau (2010-07-21). "July 21: Albert John Luthuli, Prophetic Witness in South Africa, 1967" (in en). 
  41. Surratt, Beau (2010-07-21). "July 21: Albert John Luthuli, Prophetic Witness in South Africa, 1967" (in en). 
Name: Albert Lutuli
Born: Jun 1898
Died: Jul 1967
Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe)
Titles: Teacher Activist Politician
Affiliation: Unknown
Honor: Nobel Peace Prize winner
Subjects: Others
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Update Date: 29 Nov 2022