Biography: Chief Albert Luthuli (1898 – 21 July 1967).

Friday, 4 November 2011


"I have joined my people in the new spirit that moves them today, the spirit that revolts openly and broadly against injustice."
Early life.
Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli was born in around the year 1898 to a Seventh day Adventist missionary, in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, (present Zimbabwe). He attended a missionary school in his ancestral town of Groutville, Natal. Luthuli also trained as a teacher at Edendale, near Pietermaritzburg. He also attended Adam’s College where was part of the staff until 1935.

Chief Luthuli also became lay preacher at Adam’s College. He was so religious – this explained his non-violent approach to politics, despite a call for a militant approach to apartheid.

Luthuli and ANC.
Chief Luthuli joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1945, and was elected president of the Province of Natal in 1951.
Luthuli was one of the architects of the Defiance Campaign – anon-violent protest against pass laws. He was summoned to Pretoria to answer for his acts. While there, he was given two choices; to either renounce the membership of ANC or be scrapped off his position as a tribal chief. Luthuli refused to resign but instead issued a statement to the press. In his statement, he was reaffirming his backing of the anti-apartheid campaign.
In November 1952, Chief Luthuli was scrapped off his chieftaincy.
In the last quarter of 1952, Albert Luthuli became president of ANC. This was made possible by the lack of popularity of former president, Dr. James Moroka, who had pleaded not-guilty to charges laid to him in relation to the Defiance Campaign. This automatically made Nelson Mandela vice president of ANC.
Luthuli was banned in 1954, and later imprisoned in 1956. He was one of the 156 people accused of ‘high treason’. He was released shortly after due to lack of evidence.
Chief Luthuli was re-elected President of ANC in 1955 and again in 1958.
In 1960, Luthuli led the protests in response to the Sharpville Massacre. He was once again summoned by the apartheid government. A supporting mob of Seventy-two Black Africans was shot and others (200) injured. In response to this, Chief Luthuli publically burned his passbook. He was detained on 30 March. In addition, he was later confined to his home in Stranger, Natal.
Last Days.
Chief Luthuli suffered ill health and eyesight problems. Up to this time, he was still confined to his home in Natal. While taking a walk near his home, Luthuli was hit by a speeding train and died on 21 July 1967. However, many of his followers dismissed this explanation.
Awards.
-          He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the fight against apartheid. He was the first person to win the prestigious ward.
-          He was elected Rector of Glasgow University (a position which was honorary) in 1962.
-          He published his autobiography, ‘Let my people go’ in the same year 1962.



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