"We Go To Action": Statement on the Launching in Natal of the Defiance Campaign, August 30, 1952(1)

Natal through its accredited delegates whose stand was fully endorsed at the Conference of the African National Congress, Natal Branch, held in Durban on March 15, 1952, supported the decision of the African National Congress to launch a campaign of non-violent passive resistance against discriminatory and unjust laws in the Union of South Africa with the object and hope of getting white South Africa to adopt a policy of allowing full democratic rights for all who qualify for them.

We believe with Archbishop Hurley of Durban who recently, in addressing the South African Institute of Race Relations in Durban, said: "The first Christian duty in race relations in South Africa was to convince Europeans that they could not claim the enjoyment of rights as a monopoly without sacrificing human justice. The second was to grant economic, cultural and political rights to Non-Europeans progressively in accordance with their stage of social evolution."

It grieves me to say that since the Union we have witnessed a diminution of democratic rights and privileges among the few Non-Europeans who enjoyed them when we had hoped that the liberal policy of the Cape would be extended to the northern provinces. We find ourselves deprived of opportunities to develop to our fullest capacity our God-given talents.

As Africans we are glad that at the invitation of the African National Congress the Indians and Coloureds, through their national organisations, pledged to support our Congress in its just struggle.

We invite all, irrespective of colour, race or creed, who prize democracy to join our forces.

I am happy to announce today at this meeting of our Provincial Conference held at the Bantu Social Centre in Durban on August 30, 1952, that the Africans in Natal with their allies, the Indians, under the joint direction of the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress, are going into action against discriminatory and unjust laws tomorrow, August 31, 1942.

May God bless our Volunteers who are helping Natal to honour its pledged word so that in the final reckoning Natal will say "I too was there in the struggle to make the Union of South Africa a true democracy for all its people irrespective of colour, race or creed."

1. The Campaign of Defiance against Unjust Laws - which was launched by the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress on June 26, 1952 - was initiated in the Natal province at the end of August to allow time for adequate preparations.


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