Day 15: Albert Lutuli #BlackHistoryMonth

20140215-084945.jpg Inkosi Albert John Lutuli (commonly spelled Luthuli; c. 1898 – 21 July 1967), also known by his Zulu name Mvumbi, was a South African teacher and politician. Luthuli was elected president of the African National Congress (ANC), at the time an umbrella organisation that led opposition to the white minority government in South Africa. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid. He was the first African, and the first person from outside Europe and the Americas, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1936 the government disenfranchised the only black Africans who had had voting rights — those in Cape Province. In 1948 the Nationalist Party, which was in control of the government, adopted the policy of apartheid (apartness) and over the next decade the Pass Laws were tightened.

In 1944 Lutuli joined the African National Congress (ANC). In 1945 he was elected to the Committee of the KwaZulu Provincial Division of ANC and in 1951 to the presidency of the Division. The next year he joined with other ANC leaders in organizing nonviolent campaigns to defy discriminatory laws.

The government, charging Lutuli with a conflict of interest, demanded that he withdraw his membership in ANC or forfeit his office as tribal chief. Refusing to do either, he was dismissed from his chieftainship.

A month later Lutuli was elected president-general of ANC, formally nominated by the future Pan Africanist Congress leader Potlako Leballo. Responding immediately, the government imposed two two-year bans on Lutuli’s movement. When the second ban expired in 1956, he attended an ANC conference only to be arrested and charged with treason a few months later, along with 155 others. In December 1957, after nearly a year in custody during the preliminary hearings, Lutuli was released and the charges against him and sixty-four of his compatriots were dropped.

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

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One thought on “Day 15: Albert Lutuli #BlackHistoryMonth

  1. Pingback: Jul 21 – Albert John Luthuli | Holy Women, Holy Men

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