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Biography

Chief Albert John Lutuli, the beloved President-General of the African National Congress (SA); one of Africa's greatest political figures of our times; the undisputed leader of and respected spokesman for South Africa's 14 million oppressed, exploited and humiliated inhabitants, passed from the scene of active struggle for political rights and national liberation in July,1967, when it is alleged he was run over by a train. Chief Lutuli was a profound thinker, a man of powerful logic with a keen sense of justice; a man of lofty principles, a bold and courageous fighter and a statesman. He was a true African nationalist and an unflinching patriot. Although he grew up under tribal conditions and surroundings, he was uncompromising against racialism; tribalism and all forms of racial and sectional exclusiveness. He believed in and fought for full political, economic and social opportunities for the oppressed people of South Africa regardless of colour, creed, nationality or racial origin. A staunch anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, he fought and obtained the co-operation of all anti-apartheid, anti-imperialist progressive movements and organisations in South Africa. 

As a practising Christian, Chief Lutuli genuinely and sincerely believed in the well-being, happiness and dignity of all human beings. Because of his convictions, he sacrificed all prospects of personal gains and comforts and dedicated his life to the cause and service of his fellowmen. Chief Lutuli was born in 1898, away from Groutville but returned as a child to his ancestral home. He was educated in Mission Schools and at Adam's College in Natal where he later taught until 1936. In answer to repeated calls and requests from the elders of his tribe to come home and lead them, he left teaching that year to become chief of the tribe. He was not a hereditary chief as his tribe had a democratic system of electing its chiefs. As far as the Africans were concerned,1936 was a year of political disturbances, economic plunder and uncertainty in South Africa. That year, the country was faced with the notorious Hertzog Bills.

One of the Bills known as the "Representation of Natives Act" which rendered the then African vote in the Cape Province valueless. Under it the Native Representative Council was established. The other, the "Natives Land and Trust Bill", sought to limit the land to be owned or occupied by the African population of 12 million to 12.5 per cent of the land, while reserving the remaining 87.5 per cent for a population of less than 3 million Whites. From the inception of his new calling, Chief Lutuli was brought face to face with ruthless African political, social and economic realities - those of rightlessness and landlessness of his people. The futility and limited nature of tribal affairs and politics made him look for a higher and broader form of organisation and struggle which was national in character. 

Joined ANC With this background, Chief Lutuli openly and boldly joined the struggle for the right of Africans to full and unfettered development. He joined the African National Congress in 1945. In 1946, he entered the then Native Representative Council. At that stage, however, the Council had for all intents and purposes come to its end. It was a useless and frustrating talking shop that had been brought to a standstill by the protest of members who questioned the brutal and savage methods employed by the police in dealing with the African miners' strike on the Witwatersrand in August 1946. It had also called upon the Government to abolish all discriminatory laws and demanded for a new policy towards the African population. It never met again and was eventually abolished by the Government. Chief Lutuli was elected Provincial President of the African National Congress in Natal in 1951. 

From that time he threw himself body and soul into the struggle. As a chief he was not allowed to take part in politics. But he defied his ban. When he was called upon by the Government to choose between his chieftainship and the African National Congress, he chose the African National Congress. He was deposed in 1952 and elected President-General of the African National Congress by his people the same year. Chief Lutuli was a determined and courageous fighter, shaped and steeled in the various political and economic struggles that took place throughout the country. There were many bold and imaginative political and economic campaigns for demands envisaged both in the 1949 Programme of Action adopted by the ANC, and in the Freedom Charter. Some of the campaigns were violent, bitter and grim. These usually took the form of. Militant Fighter There is a wrong and unfortunate impression that Chief Lutuli was a pacifist, or some kind of an apostle of nonviolence. This impression is incorrect and misleading. 

The policy of non-violence was formulated and adopted by national conferences of the African National Congress before he was elected President-General of the organisation. The policy was adopted in 1951 specially for the conduct of the "National Campaign for Defiance of Unjust Laws" in 1952. What is correct, however, is that as a man of principle and as a leader of unquestionable integrity, Chief Lutuli defended the policy entrusted to him by his organisation and saw to that it was implemented. When that policy was officially and constitutionally changed, he did not falter. Chief Lutuli was fundamentally a militant, disciplined and an uncompromising fighter who had joined and led an organisation of men who, like himself, honoured and respected the decision and resolutions of their conferences. Through his sincerity, devotion and dedication to the cause of African freedom and progress he was held in high esteem by all men of goodwill in South Africa and the world. . . 

These qualities also earned him hatred and the wrath of the enemy. Through fear of his ideas and stand the enemy banned and confined him to the Lower Tugela area from 1952 till his death on 21st July, 1967. His first ban for two years was in 1952. It was renewed in 1954. In 1959 he was banned for a further period of five (5) years which was again renewed when it expired. But he continued with political work till the last days of his life. Charged with Treason Notwithstanding the fact that he had been confined for practically all the time of his leadership of the African National Congress, he was arrested in 1956 and, together with other leaders of the liberation movement, was charged with High Treason. The trial opened in January, 1957 and concluded on 29th March 1961 when all the accused were found not guilty. 

Together with 2,000 other leaders he was arrested and detained for five months in 1960 under the State of Emergency declared by the South African Government on March 29th,1960 Chief Lutuli was truly a great political personality and leader. But his political greatness and organisational achievements cannot be divorced from his organisation and colleagues, some of whom have been hanged and others who are languishing in the prisons of the oppressors; men who assisted him in solving problems and in shouldering the heavy task of leadership, men whom he so ably led and directed during difficult and trying times. The collection of speeches published here show the clearsightedness of this great leader. What is more it shows that the African National Congress did all in its power to change the policies of the racist regime in South Africa through peaceful means. It is only when every effort for a peaceful change was met by police violence and brutality did the decision to resort to armed struggle adopted by the organisation. We hope that this edition of South African Studies will help its readers to a deeper understanding of the history of our struggle

Document written by Albert Luthuli

Speeches

Speech by Albert Luthuli at a public meeting organized by the South African Congress of Democrats
Albert Luthuli`s acceptance speech on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize
Opening address to the Sixth Annual Conference of the Natal Indian Congress
42nd Annual Conference: Presidential Address by Chief Lutuli>
43rd National Conference: Presidential Address by Chief Lutuli
Presidential address by Albert Luthuli to the Annual Conference of the African National Congress, Natal Branch
44th National Conference: "Special Presidential Message" by Chief Lutuli
45th National Conference: Presidential address by Chief Albert Luthuli
46th National Conference: Presidential address by Chief Albert Luthuli
47th National Conference: Presidential address by Chief Albert Luthuli
Presidential address by Alberth Luthuli to the Annual Provincial Conference of the Natal Branch of the African National Congres
Opening address by Albert Luthuli to the Twenty-second Biennial Conference of the South African Indian Congress
Albert Luthuli`s speech to ceremony for presenting him the Christopher Gell Memorial Award
Opening address by Albert Luthuli to Conference on Unemployment, Low Wages and Poverty

Letters

Letter to the Prime Minister, Mr J.C. Strijdom from Albert Luthuli
Letter to Americans by Albert Luthuli, distributed by the American Committee on Africa with the "Appeal for Action"
Letter from Albert Luthuli to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, U Thant
Albert Luthuli`s message from Oslo to the South African people
Interview to Drum with Albert Luthuli
"Should we get rid of the whites?" - Albert Luthuli answer to a question
A Message from Albert Luthuli to every Voter from the African National Congress
"Struggle for freedom in our life time must go on": Interview with New Age by Albert Luthuli
Message by Albert Luthuli to the National Conference of the African National Congress Women`s League
Message by Albert Luthuli to the Seventh Provincial Conference of the Natal Indian Congress
Interview with Drum: Alberth Luthuli
Albert Luthuli`s message to New Age on 25th anniversary of Progressive Press
Interview with Drum: Albert Luthuli
Message by Albert Luthuli for the observance of South Africa Freedom Day
"Form united front now": Interview with Albert Luthuli
Message by Albert Luthuli to people of Western Areas
Message by Albert Luthuli to Asian-African Conference
Message by Albert Luthuli to the Congress of the People
Message by Albert Luthuli
Birthday message by Albert Luthuli to Dr. Yusuf M. Dadoo
Statement by Albert Luthuli protesting the closing of the Soviet Consulate offices
Message Albert Luthuli to the Conference of the Congress of Democrats
Message sent to Canon Collins by ALbert Luthuli
Answers to questions by Drum: Albert Luthuli
Freedom Day Call by Albert Luthuli
Interview with Albert Luthuli by Studs Terkel
Recommendations of Commission on undesirable publications - Interview: Albert Luthuli
Albert Luthuli`s message to the Reverend Canon L. John Collins, Christian Action
Message by Albert Luthuli to the National Peace Convention
Resist Apartheid Campaign Message to Meeting by Albert Luthuli
ANC Election Policy: Interview to New Age with Albert Luthuli
Recorded message by Albert Luthuli to meeting in London in support of South African Leaders arrested on charge of Treason
Message by Albert Luthuli on the eve of Multi-Racial Conference

Articles

"What I think of Macmillan`s speech": Article by Albert Luthuli
"The Lutuli story" An Autobiographical article
"If I were Prime Minister": Article by Albert Luthuli
"What I would do if I were Prime Minister" by Albert Luthuli
Call to A. N. C. Ranks by Albert Luthuli

Media Statements

Statement by Albert Luthuli on the launching in Natal of the Defiance Campaign, "We go to action"
Statement by Albert Lutuli (Jointly with Dr. G.M. Naicker and Peter Brown) appealing to the British People to Boycott South Africa
Call for the observance of Human Rights Day: Albert Luthuli
"Our struggle is for progress": Statement by Albert Luthuli
Statement by Albert Luthuli to the council of the Institute of Race Relations
Statement by Albert Luthuli on the "Sabotage Act"
"Don`t support apartheid sport": Appeal (by Chief A. J. Lutuli and Dr. G. M. Naicker)
Joint statement by Chief Albert J. Lutuli and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Statement by Chief Albert Luthuli on the conclusion of the Rivonia trial
The Road to Freedom is Via the Cross by A. Luthuli
Joint statement by Albert Luthuli with Dr. G. M. Naicker concerning stay-at-home during week of general election
Appeal for action against Apartheid - Statement issued jointly by Chief Albert Luthuli and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr

Reports

The African Women`s Demonstration in Natal: Report by Albert Luthuli to the Natal People`s Conference

Miscellaneous Documents

Testimony by Albert Luthuli in the Treason Trial
A reply by Albert Luthuli to Mr. Jordan K. Ngubane`s attacks on the African National Congress
The effect of minority rule on non-whites: Albert Luthuli
No Arms for South Africa: Albert Luthuli
Paper read at the Conference on the Group Areas Act convened by the Natal Indian Congress: Albert Luthuli
The Treason Trial: Foreword by Chief Albert Luthuli to a book by Helen Joseph
Albert Luthuli`s foreword to pamphlet published by the South African Congress of Democrats
Call for United Front by Albert Luthuli

Trials

Undelivered statement by Albert Luthuli at the time of his Trial for burning his pass