Chief Albert John Luthuli

Chief Albert John Luthuli, a teacher and minor Zulu chief found that, as an employee of the South African government, his efforts to raise the living standards of his people were limited.

In 1946, he joined the African National Congress (ANC) and soon became president of its Natal branch. Six years later, he was elected president-general of the country-wide organization. The ANC, at that time, was basically a non-violent movement, using the techniques of passive resistance and peaceful protest to persuade the South African government to abandon its discriminatory policies.

In the 1950s it was obvious that the Afrikaner Nationalist Party was bent on intensifying their efforts and discriminatory practices to enforce the apartheid system. The Youth Wing of the ANC responded with a program of disruption and sabotage.

As leader of the ANC, the government exerted considerable pressure on Luthuli. He was deposed as chief, restricted to his home town, arrested for treason, and banned several times (permanently in 1959). By this time, he had lost effective control of the organization, but was retained as president.

Luthuli never lost his moral stature and never endorsed violence against the South African state. In 1961 he received the Nobel Peace Prize. However, by the end of his life, he had come to accept that revolution was inevitable, if the African majority in South Africa was to obtain freedom and justice.
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Let My People Go, Albert John Luthuli. [buy it from Amazon
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