Letter from Yusuf Dadoo to Prof. D.D.T. Jabavu, July 4, 1940(1)

It has come to my knowledge that the All African Convention, of which you are the President, has been convened to meet at Bloemfontein on the seventh of this month to discuss the all-important question of War and the manner in which the African people could render their support to the prosecution of the war efforts of the British and the Union Governments.

In your capacity as the president, the Conference shall naturally look to you for guidance, and the course and the eventual outcome of its deliberations will depend to some, if not to a large, extent on the line of policy that you shall outline before it in your presidential address.

As a non-European and as one who is profoundly convinced that the future of the non-European people of this country depends on the coming together of the African, the Coloured, the Indian and the Malay into one solid and powerful organisation which would be capable of giving an honest and bold lead to them, I take this liberty of placing before you certain observations for your consideration so that they may not escape your attention, though I have not the least doubt that your longer experience and maturer years must have steeled you to face all the complex problems of life in a calm and logical manner and to unravel them with an insight which is only born of experience and honest conviction.

The present war raises one question in the answer to which depends the attitude of the non-European peoples of this country. That question is what is this war all about. We have full knowledge of the events in the international field from the time of the conquest of Manchuria by Japanese imperialism in 1931 and the rise of Hitler to power in Germany up to the time of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the declaration of war conjointly by Britain and France on the Third Reich last September and the subsequent swift and shocking events that followed in the wake of war that this is yet another imperialist war waged with all the ferocity and the brutality of which the imperialist machine (whether of imperialist Britain or Nazi Germany makes no difference) is capable of, to divide, distribute and hold the territories and colonial possessions of the imperialist Powers.

The Union Government as an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, despite the opposition of a large number of the Afrikaans elements and without consulting the non-European people at all, has thrown in its lot with Britain in their war against Nazi Germany on the pretext that it is a war for Democracy and Justice and Independence of small nations. The question that the non-Europeans may well ask ourselves is "what has the Union Government done to institute and grant the democratic rights of citizenship to the non-European peoples". The pass and poll tax laws continue to sap the lifeblood of our brethren and unbearable conditions in locations, besides degrading the physical and mental vitality, continue to spread in its train the most dreaded infectious diseases like tuberculosis, venereal diseases, small-pox, typhus and a host of others; extremely low wages coupled with the high cost of living (it has risen considerably since the outbreak of war) and the uncivilised "Civilised White Labour Policy" continue to spread misery, starvation and unemployment among our people; and the denial of political franchise tends to keep us down at the lowest level of development. Thus the Union Government, although it professes to wage war for Democracy and Justice, has not made the slightest effort to lighten the burden of oppression which weighs so heavily on the shoulders of our people. This in itself is a clear manifestation of the "no change" policy adopted and pursued by the Government of the country. The words "Democracy" and "Justice" are very cleverly used by the powers that be to mislead public opinion of this country, and so accumulate as much cannon-fodder as possible in order to carry on the war for imperialism and all that it implies.

However much we may detest the brutality and arrogance of Nazism, we cannot, nevertheless, allow the iron heel and infernal machine of imperialism to go on crushing the vitality, blood and life of our people.

The time has come for the non-European peoples to assert their mighty power of mass unity to attain the natural rights of citizenship which have been so ruthlessly and systematically denied to them by the successive Governments of this country.

My contact with our peoples, particularly our African brethren, has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are conscious of the way in which they are exploited to make the European capitalists rich and powerful and they are also conscious of the task before them... that of freeing themselves from the bondage of imperialist slavery. What they need most of all at the present moment is a strong, honest and realist leadership which could and would express in sincere and scientific manner the will of the non-European people as a whole.

And now the All African Convention has been afforded an opportunity of giving that much expected and much wanted leadership to its people... The non-European peoples all over South Africa, in town and village, in workshop and farm, look to their leaders who are meeting shortly at Bloemfontein, to lay down an active and vigorous policy which shall demand the immediate abolition of the Pass and Poll Tax and all the other suppressive and colour-bar laws, and lay down a policy which shall outline a practical programme for economic and political emancipation of the people.

I make this appeal to you in the name of the sacred cause of all non-European peoples to give that lead and thus redeem the confidence and trust that your people have so implicitly reposed in you during all these years.

I am sure that a right and militant lead given by you after a true evaluation of recent events and their significance would mark a great and historical step forward in the march of our people towards the goal of freedom and independence. Such a call would be taken up by the All African Convention and subsequently by all the non-European people of South Africa.

Dear Professor, I shall watch with keen interest, hope and expectancy your deliberations and decisions at Bloemfontein.

Wishing your conference every success.

Letter to Professor D.D.T. Jabavu, July 5, 1940(2)

In my letter of yesterday I forgot to stress the fact that the Government has offered to employ four thousand Africans to guard vital points and although these people will be called upon to take up a most dangerous kind of job, they will not be armed.

The experience of the Belgian, Dutch, French and British soldiers has shown us that even these well-equipped and well-armed soldiers were not able to stand up to the superior armed forces of the enemy. How dare the Government of this country expect the Africans to withstand such mechanised attacks armed only with wooden-sticks and knob-kerries? It shows a callous and criminal disregard of the sanctity of African lives. The audacity of the Government in making such an insulting offer transcends all the limits of human decency. Were it not so tragic the offer might have given no amount of derisive amusement to our people.

This latest piece of effrontery should not be allowed to go unchallenged. Let us proclaim in stern but clear terms that we shall not allow such an intolerable state of affairs to continue any longer. We must make it clear to the Government that it must either take heed of our timely warning or suffer the consequence for its criminal disregard of non-European feeling and sentiment.

Again wishing your conference success.

"Segregation or Progress?": An Appeal to Natal Indians, March 1945(3)

The Congress elections on the 18th March will decide the destiny, not only of Natal Indians but of South African Indians as a whole for many, many years to come. It is imperative that Natal Indians elect a leadership which will have the courage of its convictions to face the present dangerous situation which confronts us, with a Progressive policy of united action against all forms of segregation and for full democratic rights for our people.

It must be clear to all thinking Indians what the Kajee-Pather leadership has meant to the Indian community. It concluded the notorious Pretoria Agreement without the knowledge or the consent of the people and thus bartered away the elementary right of e Indians to live where they chose. This policy made it possible for the Natal Provincial council to pass the Natal segregation Ordinance with impunity, and it put serious obstacles in the way of India in her great stand on our behalf. It is tragic that the Kajee-Pather group should be so weak when all leaders and major organisations in India, Congress and Muslim League alike, ever stand firmly united against the humiliating treatment meted out to South African Indians.

Events have proved that the Kajee-Pather leadership has played right into the hands of he Natal English racialist and the segregationist Government. If this leadership is flowed to pursue its mad career it will lead the Indian people to certain ruin, ghettos and deprivation of economic rights and privileges for all, rich and poor alike.

Have we an alternative to this blundering leadership? The Anti-Segregation Council provides the answer. The leadership of the Anti-Segregation Council has a record of unflinching faith in the united strength of the people, and of a bold and uncompromising stand against the Pegging Act, the Pretoria Agreement, the Natal Ordinances and all measures of segregation - a record that, with the united support of the people, can lead the community out of the present miserable condition to a bright and hopeful future.

The choice is before Natal Indians. Support for the Kajee-Pather leadership will spell complete segregation. Support for the Anti-Segregation Council will lead the Indian people along a path of struggle against national humiliation and oppression, and for equal opportunities and full democratic rights for all.

A victory for the Anti-Segregation Council will be acclaimed by all progressives in South Africa and the world as a step forward in the fight for progress and human freedom.

We, therefore, appeal to all members of the Natal Indian Congress to vote for the candidates of the Anti-Segregation Council on March 18th.(4)

Signed: (Dr.) Yusuf M. Dadoo
H. A. Naidoo
I. C. Meer
Maulvi I. A. Cachalia
A. I. Meer


Dr. Dadoo, Dr. G. M. Naicker; Manilal Gandhi and Sundra Pillai were each sentenced to six months imprisonment each for their leadership of the Passive Resistance Movement. The following is the report on Dr. Dadoos speech at a meeting in Johannesburg on February 29, 1948 on the eve of his imprisonment.

When Dr. Dadoo rose to speak on Sunday at the great solidarity meeting in his honour held in Johannesburg, the huge crowd rose with him shouting "We shall Resist" and "Long Live Drs. Dadoo and Naicker". The Non-European people of the Transvaal pledged to him their unqualified and unstinting support.

In dealing with the second phase of the resistance struggle and the summonses served on him, Dr. Naicker, Manilal Gandhi and Sundra Pillay, he said, "The Joint Passive Resistance Council has unanimously decided that all the four accused should plead guilty to the charge. This is in keeping with the tenets of Passive Resistance. We have no quarrel with the administrators of the law. Our fight is against the lawmakers of South Africa - the Parliament and the Government of the land, Our only crime is that we are putting into practice what our Prime Minister preached before the United Nations Assembly. He claimed before the worlds assembly that South African Indians were Union nationals. How hollow and baseless this claim is has been amply demonstrated by the stern action of the Government against the resisters in the present phase of the struggle. These brave resisters, in crossing the Provincial borders, are merely exercising their inalienable and most elementary right of citizenship. We are paying the penalty of claiming to be Union nationals. In the eyes of South African law we may be looked upon as lawbreakers, but the world at large will condemn the lawmakers of South Africa.

Dr. Dadoo then went on to deal with the claim of the rulers that South Africa is a democratic State governed by Parliament elected by the people and a Government responsible to the people: "By the constitution of the land 20 per cent of the population is vested with the power of life and death over 80 per cent of the people, This is not democracy; this is rank herrenvolkism and savours of fascism The inevitable consequence of such denial of democratic rights to sections of the people is to turn the State into a police State. The greater the attempt at repression, the greater becomes the resentment of the oppressed. As the great national bard of India Rabindranath Tagore points out in one of his poems:

The more their eyes redden with rage, the more our eyes open, The more they tighten their chains the more the. chains loosen

"On the other hand, greater is the tendency among the herrenvolk to assume more and more authoritarian power and to resort to fascist methods.

Appeasing Nazi elements Dr. Dadoo went on to trace how successive laws affecting the African and Indian people have led to police rule in the case of the Africans and to the Ghetto Act of 1946 in the case of the Indian people. "Where does such a process stop? What are the oppressed to do? he asked.

Dr. Dadoo alleged that the whole policy of the Union Government in suppressing the legitimate demands of the Indian and other oppressed peoples for natural justice and elementary democratic rights was aimed at appeasing the extreme racial and Nazi elements in the country.

"Today the Government is in a dilemma. It realises that world public opinion is not favourable to South Africa, It recognises that by taking action against the resisters this feeling of hostility existing in the outside world is liable to be further aggravated. The government is also aware that the continuation of the dispute with India and Pakistan threatens to disrupt seriously and beyond repair Commonwealth relationship. But at the same time the Government is not prepared to set aside its policy of appeasing the herrenvolk. The Government, therefore, is seeking to get out of the quandary by taking stern action against the resisters and by attempting to split the united stand and struggle of the Indian people. It was with this aim in mind that Mr. Lawrence, the Minister of Interior, said in Parliament that the Passive Resistance Movement was not a spontaneous effort of the Indian people, but that it was instigated by a few individuals motivated by a foreign ideology."

"We in the Passive Resistance movement have no desire to make exaggerated claims. We prefer to stick to truth which is our guiding principle.

Solidarity with struggle

Dr. Dadoo showed how during the last twenty months the Indian people have demonstrated their support and solidarity for the struggle, and how over two thousand brave men and women voluntarily suffered varying terms of imprisonment in the jails of South Africa

"The operation of the Ghetto Act has been virtually brought to a standstill by the united and total opposition of the Indian people."

"In this new phase too the people are solidly standing behind us. Your presence here in large numbers, as well as texts of messages of solidarity which we have received from far and wide, is but an indication of the spontaneous urge of our people to lend every possible support to our righteous cause and just struggle."

"Whether we are instigators as Mr. Lawrence wants to make out we are loyally carrying out our responsibilities of leadership entrusted to us by the will and the mandate of the people, the course and progress of the struggle alone will show."

"We are servants of the people; we have dedicated our lives to the freedom struggles of the oppressed; we have devoted our time and energy to the great cause of transforming our country, South Africa, into a genuine democratic State in which our multi-racial population will live and work in harmony and on a basis of equality in a progressive State. We are prepared to offer the supreme sacrifice if needs be. There can be no defeat for those who struggle for a just cause."

"But for the successful prosecution of our present struggle a great and heavy responsibility rests on your shoulders. Whether the struggle is to be of long or short duration will depend in a large measure on the degree of unity we are able to maintain within our ranks. The Government, as I said before, is attempting to split our movement, but so far it has not met with any tangible success.

Smuts-sponsored goodwill mission Referring to the delegation of the newly-formed Natal and Transvaal Organisations which was received by the Prime Minister, Dr. Dadoo said:

"Through this delegation the Government has announced its willingness to meet the Governments of India and Pakistan at a Round Table Conference.

General Smuts has even gone further and has sponsored a 'goodwill mission' from these newly-formed bodies to proceed to India and Pakistan."

"What is the master plan behind this ostensibly conciliatory manoeuvre of the South African Government? If it is a question of a Round Table Conference then we are the first ones to welcome such a move provided of course, that it is compatible with the dignity of the newly acquired status of India and Pakistan. We are entitled to know from the Union Government the basis on which such tripartite talks will take place. Until such time as General Smuts makes a direct approach to the Governments of India and Pakistan, the proposal for a Round Table Conference must of necessity remain outside the realm of practical possibility."

Government's death trap "In the meantime, however, the Union Government is trying to use this vague and abstract proposal to win the co-operation of the Indian people for the purpose of making the Ghetto Act work. Feverish attempts are being made by the Asiatic Land Tenure Board, which has been set up in terms of the Ghetto Act, to obtain the approval of the local Indian community throughout Natal and the Transvaal in the setting aside of separate townships and areas for the Indian people. In this way will not only the operation of the Ghetto Act become a fait accompli but the acquiescence of the Indian people will be used by the Government to remove the fundamental and important question of land and occupation rights from the agenda of the Round Table Conference when it takes place. My warning to the people is - beware of this death trap.

The General Election The forthcoming General Election was the next question commented upon. "We have no say, ', said Dr. Dadoo, "in the election of Parliament But the Government has provided in terms of the Ghetto Act for the election of three European representatives to Parliament Joy a restricted and qualified number of Indian voters on a communal roll. This provision is not only unjust but adds insult to injury. It has been rejected in total by the entire Indian community and l am confident that not a will be found who will put his name on the communal rolls if and when they are compiled. The degree of opposition to the communal representation has been clearly manifested by the complete inability of the Government to put into effect the section dealing with representation in the Ghetto Act.

Appeal to Indians

In concluding his speech Dr. Dadoo said:

"On the eve of my departure to become His Majestys guest, my appeal to the Indian people of the Transvaal is to stand solidly behind the Transvaal Indian Congress and its policy and continue their wholehearted support for our great Passive Resistance struggle."

"The Transvaal Passive Resistance Council has unanimously elected Mr. Nana Sita to act in my place during my absence. Mr. Nana Sita's devotion to the cause and his able leadership is known to all. I have no doubt that you will render him full support as you have done to me. Whilst Mr. Sita is away in Rhodesia I have great pleasure in nominating Mr. T. N. Naidoo to act as the Chairman of the Council."

"The struggle will be a difficult and trying one - it will call for all your enthusiasm and determination - some of us may fall by the wayside but I am confident that the overwhelming majority of our people will not fail the struggle."

I go to prison with an easy mind knowing that your support will not flag and having implicit faith in the masses of the people. We have broken a pass law which affects our people, but there are many pass and permit laws which affect four-fifths of our population - the African people. They too are with us in the struggle - they too will carry on the fight against racial discrimination and for democratic rights."

India and Pakistan with us "The freedom-loving people of the world are with us too. India under Pandit Nehru will always stand behind us. That great champion of our cause, the Father of our Struggle, Mahatma Gandhi, is no more with us. We shall miss his precious advice, guidance and constant attention, It is a great and grievous loss but we are fortunate in having a worthy successor in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru whom we have accepted in the Resistance Movement as our undisputed leader and adviser. Pakistan is with us too - and its Prime Minister, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan has always given us his and his colleagues' fullest support."

"We shall march forward; we shall not falter. Some of us may perish in the struggle but we will not allow our community to perish. We may be put into prison bars but we will break the fetters that keep four-fifths of our population in bondage. We shall Resist!

Dr Dadoo in India with Lady Rama Rau and Dr Naicker.


Dr. Dadoo and Dr. Naicker were charged in the Durban Magistrate's Court in February 1948 with aiding and abetting passive resisters to cross the Natal-Transvaal border in violation of the Immigration Act of 1913. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to six months each with hard labour: The following is an extract from their joint statement to Court before the sentence, read by Dr. Naicker

... We submit, Your Worship, that our only offence is that of putting into practical effect the assertion of the Union Prime Minister, General Smuts, made so forcefully before the 1946 session of the United Nations (General) Assembly that the South African Indians are Union nationals, This assertion was reiterated by the Minister of the Interior, Mr. H. G. Lawrence at the 1947 session. If we are Union nationals then it is but reasonable and in accordance with natural justice to exercise the most elementary right of citizenship, that of the freedom of movement within the boundaries of one's country of birth. Any denial of such basic human rights would only make a mockery of democracy and democratic principles.

The crossing of the Provincial borders in wilful defiance of Act 22 of 1913, constitutes the second phase of the Passive Resistance Movement which is being conducted by the Indian community under the aegis of the Joint Passive Resistance Council of the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act of 1946, the Ghetto Act.

During the last twenty months over two thousand gallant men and women resisters of all races have courted imprisonment. They preferred to suffer the rigours of jail life rather than submit to unjust and undemocratic laws.

Gandhi - father of the struggle Your Worship, it is in this great cause and noble struggle that we called upon volunteers to cross the borders and bear the penalty of the law. We consider it an honour to do so. The Passive Resistance struggle which we are conducting is based on truth and non-violence and is associated with the name of the greatest man of all times, Mahatma Gandhi, on whose death in tragic circumstances just a few weeks ago the whole world wept. Among the millions of men who paid their last tribute to this great soul was Field Marshal Smuts, the Prime Minister of South Africa.

Mahatma Gandhi was the father of our struggle Gandhi too defied the unjust laws of South Africa and suffered imprisonment during the 1906-1913 Passive Resistance struggle.

This is the man whom Field Marshal Smuts; referred to as a "Prince among Men". This is the man - the pilot of India's march to freedom - who is the source and inspiration of our struggle for democratic rights in South Africa.

This struggle of the Indian community against racial discrimination of all kinds is part and parcel of the struggle of the whole Non-European and democracy-loving peoples of South Africa to turn this country into a genuine democratic State in which our multiracial population will live and work in harmony. It is in view of these considerations that we are pleading guilty to the charge. We are willing to bear the full penalty of the law.

Spirit cannot be crushed Our bodies may be incarcerated but our spirits cannot be crushed. It is the spirit of freedom which lives in the hearts of the oppressed. It is the spirit which aims to do away with racial discrimination and herrenvolkism. It is the spirit deep-rooted in the heart of every Non-European generating the urge for a better life. It is the spirit which alone can deliver the people from colour bondage in South Africa and make this land a happier land for the Generations to come.


Message after sentence of imprisonment

Dr. Dadoo gave this message to the Indian people of South Africa just after he was sentenced to six months imprisonment. He handed the message before going down the grille.

I am fully convinced as Dr. Naicker is that the Indian community will wage a relentless battle against the Ghetto Act while we are in prison and with this knowledge our six months will come to an end soon.

To the Indians I say, I have confidence in you. Please do nothing while I am away which will bring discredit to our people. The honour and prestige of our people and of India and Pakistan demand that we do not bend before oppression.

A group picture taken in Jaipur, India. Dr Dadoo and Naicker are seated in the front row.


Report of Speech at a Meeting in Cape Town in July 1948

A joint appeal to all "suppressed people in South Africa, whether European or Non to form a United Front to fight for full democratic rights, was made by Drs. Yusuf Dadoo and G.M. Naicker, respectively Presidents of the Transvaal Indian Congress and the Natal Indian Congress, at a function in Cape Town in July 1948

Dr. Dadoo said Indians all over the Union were now faced with the question of what to do next. The Passive Resistance Movement had been temporarily suspended and a new Government was in power.

Both he and Dr. Naicker had just been released from gaol and they were both convinced that the present Nationalist regime would take even more drastic steps to suppress not only the Indians but all Non-Europeans.

By their courageous struggle the Indians had already nullified the effect of the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act. The Passive Resistance Movement had opened the eyes of other oppressed peoples as to what could be achieved by resisting the onslaught on human rights.

Furthermore, the Indians in South Africa had won the support of freedom-loving people outside South Africa and at the next session of the United Nations Organisation stronger steps than ever would be taken to fight their case.

The Nationalists' apartheid policy for the Indians was the logical outcome of the United Party's segregation programme but because the leaders of the United Party did not make their intentions clear, the electorate fell for apartheid which, to the followers of Dr. Malan, meant bigger and cheaper labour reservoirs.

Cape Indians

Indian leaders also expected the Nationalist Government soon to make an attempt to introduce the Ghetto Act in the Cape. For that reason Cape Indians must stand together to resist with all their power.

The move of the new Minister of Defence to build up a Platteland Army was just another step, under the pretext of a so-called Communist threat, to suppress Non-Europeans even more.

The Coloured people could expect measures to deprive them of their right to have their names on the common voters rolls and if the members of the Coloured Advisory Council realised what was happening, they must resign and lead their people against the threat to their freedom. Similar threats were hanging over the heads of the African people.

Task of Non-Europeans In view of all these dangers for Non-Europeans, said Dr. Dadoo, there was only one course - to fight with the utmost determination but also with responsibility, until white South Africa realised that the Non-Europeans would never give in until they were given full freedom.

"We Indians, he said, "have only South Africa as a home and nobody is going to throw us out. We want to live here and help to build up our homeland, but we cannot live without liberty.

"We look forward with confidence, for although we know that many hardships and sacrifices await us, we also know that history is on our side and that in the end we must achieve our object."

India's Step Most Timely

From: Passive Resister, Johannesburg, July 23, 1948

Joint statement by Dr. G.M. Naicker, President of the Natal Indian Congress, and Dr. Y. M. Dadoo, President of the Transvaal Indian Congress, on the decision of the Government of India to raise the South African Indian question again before the United Nations General Assembly, July 1948

The Indian people of South Africa welcome this step on the part of the Government of India as being most opportune and timely in view of the present political situation in South Africa.

South Africa can ill afford to incur the hostility of two great countries like India and Pakistan. On the other hand, friendly relations with them can be a great boon to the economic welfare of this country.

The Indian people of South Africa hope that the Union Government will act in terms of the United Nations Assembly's resolution and bring about an honourable solution of the Indian question, failing which they hope that the United Nations will act with dispatch on the recommendations proposed by the Government of India in the interests of relations between the Union of South Africa and the Governments of India and Pakistan, and in the interests of world peace.

"March Forward, Unitedly, Through Struggle to Freedom": Interview in October 1949(5)

"I am happy to be back in my homeland. I will have the opportunity to again take my full share in the struggle of all anti-Nationalists to overthrow the Malan Government and to establish a truly democratic State which will ensure full citizenship rights to every citizen."

These were Dr. Y. M. Dadoo`s first words on arriving back in the Union last week from India, in defiance of threats of deportation and State action against him made by blustering Nationalists at their Party congresses.

Dr. Dadoo was denied a passport to the United Nations just over a year ago. During that year, travelling without a passport, Dr. Dadoo has enlisted support for the democratic cause in South Africa from Britain, Europe, India and Pakistan.

Interviewed by The Guardian the day after his return, Dr. Dadoo was emphatic that "every attack on the meagre rights of the Non-Europeans must be resisted."

"Every issue is a battleground on which the people must struggle for their existing rights and the extension of them.

"The Government must not be allowed to mow down one section of the people or get away with any single attack, no matter how small."

Dr. Dadoo said he wished to warn the Indian people that they had no justifiable grounds for survival in South Africa unless they made common cause with, and worked in the fullest cooperation with, the Africans and all oppressed peoples in the struggle for national liberation.

Dr. Dadoo said that the Smuts` policy of divide and rule had been to give occasional trivial concessions to one section of the people as against another, in this way trying to prevent the unity of struggle of the Non-Europeans. He continued:

"Malan`s tactics are, with the aid of police intimidation, pressure tactics, and threats of violence, to scare the people into inactivity and to create groups of stooges who, to save their own skins, not only do not oppose the Government, but themselves preach a brand of apartheid among their own people and help to foster racial antagonisms.

"The people must not be duped by these attempted sell-outs. They must make short work of the enemies of a vigorous anti-Nationalist struggle.

"The people of South Africa must march forward, unitedly, through struggle to freedom and must take their place as proud fighters in the democratic camp of the world headed by the Soviet Union, People's China, the new democracies and hundreds of millions of toiling people advancing towards peace, freedom and socialism."

Letter to Prime Minister Malan, February 20, 1952


We, the undersigned, in terms of the resolution adopted at the 20th Conference of the South African Indian Congress held at Johannesburg on the 25th. 26th and 27th January 1952, are enjoined to address you as follows:

The South African Indian Congress as the representative organisation and mouthpiece of the South African Indian community, has at all times striven to protect and safeguard the interests of the Indian people against discriminatory legislation and to ensure their honourable and legitimate share in the development of and progress of the land of their birth and adoption, in common with all sections of the population, both White and non White. In spite of all its attempts, however, the position of the Indians together with the rest of the non-European people has been rendered intolerable by the discriminatory laws of the country. Indeed, their position had become so precarious by the passing of the Asiatic Land Tenure Act of 1946 that the South African Indian Congress has no alternative but to embark on a Passive Resistance struggle as a protest, and to request the Government of India to raise this question at the United Nations Assembly.

It is to be noted that when a change of Government took place as a result of the general elections of 1948 and your Government assumed office, the Passive Resistance struggle was suspended and an approach was made to you in your capacity as the Prime Minister for a statement of Government policy.

This offer, as you may well recollect, was rejected and the Congress was informed through the Honourable the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Donges, that the Government was not prepared to grant the requested interview. This attitude was no doubt the outcome of the policy of your party as formulated in its election manifesto which laid the main stress on apartheid which meant the compulsory segregation of all non-European national groups into separate compartments or ghettos, and which specifically stated: "The Party holds the view that Indians are a foreign and outlandish element which is unassimilable. They can never become part of the country and must therefore be treated as an immigrant community The Party accepts as a basis of its policy the repatriation of as many Indians as possible and proposes a proper investigation into the practicability of such a policy on a large scale in co-operation with India and other countries."

The Group Areas Act which the Prime Minister has claimed to be the "kernel of apartheid, is a law which runs contrary to all the fundamental principles of democracy and of human rights. The enforcement of this Act will cause mass uprooting of the non European people from areas and homes which they have acquired and built through the toil and sweat of many generations. The setting aside of Group Areas will mean to the non-European an end to all progress in every sphere of life. It will bring about economic retrogression and impoverishment with all its concomitant evils of crime and degradation. In so far as the Indian people are concerned, the Act is intended as a means of expelling them from this country, (vide the Joint-Departmental Committees report on which the Group Areas Act is based). It is to be noted that even at this early stage of its enforcement untold damage has been done to the interests of the people. Their material and economic progress is coming to a halt and immovable properties and homes running into hundreds of thousands of pounds are in the process of being confiscated by the State in terms of the Act. The Minister of the Interior is using dictatorial powers by serving notices on many companies to sell their properties within a specified time, failing which the listed properties would be liable to forced sale by the State. Not only are privately owned properties affected but religious and public institutions communally acquired for the welfare of the community have also been served with such notices.

The Bantu Authorities Act is aimed at denying the African people their rightful role in the affairs of the country and rendering them ineffective as a political force. The purpose of the Act in granting controlled powers to the chiefs is to split up the African people into tribal groups which could be effectively brought under rigid State control.

The purpose of the Suppression of Communism Act is to suppress the fundamental rights of the South African people to organise, to criticise and to express, by written or spoken word, their opposition to any aspect of Government policy which they consider repugnant and anti-democratic. The way in which the arbitrary powers vested in the Minister of Justice have been used to attack the freedom of speech and of the press is evident by the attempt to unseat a Member of Parliament and a Member of the Cape Provincial Council who were constitutionally elected to their offices, and by the Ministers threat to suppress The Guardian newspaper. It is apparent that this Act is intended to crush the activities of all democratic organisations and trade unions which are opposed to the apartheid and anti-democratic policies of your Government.

The Separate Representation of Voters, Act is yet another apartheid measure which is depriving the Coloured voters of whatever limited franchise rights and effectiveness they possessed.

This brief summary of some of the main apartheid measures placed on the Statute Book by your Government will suffice to show that apartheid is primarily intended for the complete suppression of the non-European people so as to procure an unlimited supply of cheap labour. With this purpose in mind the Government is endeavouring to divide forcibly the population of our country into separate racial groups and tribes. The policy of apartheid is anti-democratic, reactionary and contrary to the laws of natural development of history and can only be imposed by means of Fascist tyranny and unrestrained dictatorship. Indeed, not only have the non-European people become the victims of this policy but it has also encroached upon the rights and liberties of the European people as evidenced by State interference with the freedom of individuals to travel abroad, with the freedom of the right of parents regarding their children's education, with the freedom of the press and with the freedom of trade unions to conduct their own affairs

It is a fact of history that since your Government came into power it has attempted to impose its apartheid policy with callous disregard for the feelings of the people and disastrous consequences to the country as whole. Race relations have reached the most critical stage in our countrys history. There has been unbridled incitement of race animosity and prejudice between the different population groups and unremitting race propaganda. There has been a steady increase in the use of violence and intimidation by the police and the occurrence of race riots hitherto unknown. There has been a constant tendency to place unlimited and arbitrary powers in the hands of the Ministers, powers which under the provisions of the various laws enacted by your Government are being used to crush the rights and liberties, particularly of the non-European people. There has been continuous impoverishment of the people, with a steep and steady rise in the cost of living, with the brutal enforcement of the Pass Laws, the forcible deprivations of the African peasants of their only wealth, their cattle, and the further enslavement of the urban African population through the Native Laws Amendment Bill.

It was in this rapidly deteriorating situation that the Conference of the African National Congress resolved to adopt a plan of action to obtain the repeal of the Group Areas Act, the Bantu Authorities Act, the Suppression of Communism Act, the Separate Representation of Voters' Act, the Pass Laws and regulations for the culling of cattle as an immediate step to lessen the burden of oppression of the non-European people and to save our country from the catastrophe of national chaos and ever-widening conflicts. This plan of action was endorsed by the Conference of the South African Indian Congress which met in Johannesburg on 25th, 26th and 27th January 1952. In terms of this decision we have been instructed to convey to you the full support of the South African Indian Congress to the call made upon your Government by the African National Congress for the repeal of the above-mentioned Acts, failing which the South African Indian Congress will participate with the African National Congress in holding protest meetings and demonstrations on the 6th day of April 1952 as a prelude to the implementation of the Plan for the Defiance of Unjust Laws.

It is with abiding faith and calm confidence in the truth and justice of our cause and firm conviction in democratic ideals and principles that we made this supporting call notwithstanding the contents of your reply to the letter of the African National Congress.49

We solemnly affirm that the Indian community of South Africa is South African and that it shall live and work for the progress and prosperity of the country on the principles of equality of rights and opportunities for all sections of our population, irrespective of race, sex, colour or creed, and that it shall continue its firm alliance with the national organisations of the non-European people and all democracy-loving Europeans in the struggle for a Free and Democratic South Africa.

We unhesitatingly and emphatically state that our struggle is not directed against any national group, that we bear malice or ill-will to none and that our struggle is solely against unjust laws.

The Indian people in South Africa bear the proud inheritance of the precepts and example of Mahatma Gandhi, devotion to the cause of righteousness and truth, courage and determination in the prosecution of peaceful struggles against injustice and oppression.

The non-European peoples cannot allow their own destruction by accepting apartheid - it would be a crime against man. Our ideal is clear, our duty defined, our efforts peaceful and our resolve not to succumb to the evils of apartheid unfaltering. In the historic era of greater democracy and of independence of peoples both large and small, we in South Africa too, are giving expression to natural freedom urge and democratic rights of the people - for therein lies the true Pad van Suid Afrika.

In the interests of peace, humanity and the future well-being of our country and of our peoples, we expect that unbiased justice will prevail and that laws which offend the dignity of man and retard the progress of South Africa will be repealed.

(Signed) Y. M. Dadoo

Y. A. Cachalia
Joint Hon. Secretary

Statement Concerning Banning Order Served on him under the Suppression Of Communism Act, May 1952(6)

It is not possible for me at the moment to outline the precise and practical steps that will be undertaken to defeat the ban imposed upon me by the Minister of Justice. This matter will no doubt receive the consideration of the joint meeting of the National Executive of the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress when it meets at Port Elizabeth on May 31.

The darkness of fascism is rapidly descending upon the country - the rule of law is being blatantly violated by the Government of Dr. Malan. It is self-evident that laws are made by the State for the maintenance of law and order and for the good government of the country. But when laws are made in defiance of the rule of law then the party in power is not making laws but imposing fascist tyranny and dictatorship on the people.

The Suppression of Communism Act is one of these laws and cannot be allowed to operate with impunity as it threatens the civil liberty and freedom of movement of every South African citizen who finds himself in legitimate opposition to the apartheid policy of the Nationalist Government.

It is clearly the duty of every citizen to obey the laws of the State but all laws made in defiance of the rule of law and the principles of democracy are bad and unjust and cannot therefore be tolerated by the people for long. Such laws are bound to meet with the bitter resentment of the people.

When all normal constitutional avenues for voicing the opposition of the people against certain unjust laws are ruthlessly closed by the Government then the people have no alternative but to express their disapproval even by defying these laws.

It is in this context that the plan for the defiance of unjust laws undertaken by the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress would have to be viewed by the Government and people of South Africa.

Message from Moses M. Kotane, Walter Sisulu, J.B. Marks and Dr. Dadoo Read at the Unveiling of a Memorial to Johannes Nkosi in Durban, July 18, 1953

To freedom-loving people in South Africa this day is of great significance. Twenty-three years ago, late in December, Johannes Nkosi, one of the most gallant sons of South Africa, lost his life in the thick of the struggle for the freedom of his people.

The huge mass demonstration that was then organised against the vicious pass laws was indeed a tribute to this great peoples leader, who, by his courage, showed the downtrodden people of South Africa that liberation can only be achieved through courageous leadership and unity of the masses.

We, who are following in this hero's footsteps, call upon all freedom-loving people in our country to renew their hopes in our great struggle to make South Africa a happy country for all, and to continue in every possible way to help the march towards liberation.

Greetings to the Asian-African Conference In Bandung, 1955

The Conference of Asian and African countries which is scheduled to take place in Indonesia in the middle of April should mark a historical step forward in the fight for world peace and in the struggle to defeat imperialism and win freedom by the peoples of Africa and Asia.

The very fact that a conference of this nature could take place in 1955 is proof in itself of the growing political maturity and strength of those countries which not so long ago lay prostrate under the iron heel of imperialist colonial rule.

The ten million oppressed non-white people and the democratic forces in the Union of South Africa, and indeed the 150 million African people throughout the continent, will be watching with deep and abiding interest the deliberations at the conference.

The herrenvolk police State of Strijdom assumes an important role in the war plans of United States imperialism and its satellites, the Western Powers.

Not only does South Africa supply uranium and other important materials for war purposes, but the oppressive State manoeuvres which impose colour bars, racial discrimination and police terror and which deny fundamental rights to its non-white citizens serve as a pattern for the rest of Africa in the dastardly war aims of United States imperialism to turn the African continent into an arsenal and a war base in its efforts to destroy the independence and freedom and arrest the progress of the democratic sector of the world, The master plan for Africa is the complete exploitation of the rich mineral and other resources and the ruthless suppression of the liberation movements and the total enslavement of the people.

It is for those historical reasons that the Afro-Asian conference evokes world-wide interest, We hope that it will take firm and decisive steps for the furtherance of mutual aid and co-operation in the noble task of defeating the war aims of the imperialists and in eliminating the fascist policies of the South African Government, also in wiping out colonial rule and oppression from the face of the earth. A free Africa and a free Asia are the handmaidens of world peace, progress and human happiness.

"Racial Crisis in South Africa". Address to meeting of Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, March 2, 1961

South Africa has a population of 15 million, of which 12 million are non-whites and 3 million are whites. The white people of South Africa are a settled community unlike those in the rest of Africa, with the exception of Algeria and to some extent Congo. While at the present moment many territories in Africa are becoming free, 9 million Algerian people are shedding their blood in the struggle for freedom against 15 million settled French population, and we in South Africa have to battle against three million white people. There is no reason why it should be so. Insofar as white people are concerned our policy is quite clear. We do not say that we want to push the white man into the sea or throw him out of the country. Our demand is that democratic rights should be enjoyed by all people. There should be equality between man and man. There should be no discrimination on grounds of race or colour. White and non-white can live peacefully and build a bright future for all the people of South Africa. Its natural resources are developing and we can all live together in prosperity. But the three million whites who have amassed all the power and wealth in their hands do not want to give them up. They do not want to give up their privileges. They want to maintain white supremacy in South Africa. That kind of policy cannot continue. There is bitter opposition to it and in the end a bitter struggle might ensue. They cannot for ever maintain their supremacy with the force of arms; their police and their military cannot subdue 12 million people.

Apartheid received its greatest condemnation on 21 March last year. That is the date of the Sharpeville massacre in which African men, women and children protesting against what is known as the pass law system were killed. They were demonstrating in a peaceful way. The police opened fire on them, is the official number of persons killed in one place and there were killings in other places as well. This massacre shook the conscience of the world. The matter was raised in the Security Council. The apartheid policy and the massacre were condemned and the secretary-general was instructed by the Security Council to communicate with the South African Government in order to see if changes could not be brought about in this whole system of apartheid and racial discrimination in the Union of South Africa. A year has passed but there has been so far no change on the part of the South African Government.

The question arises why do they persist in this policy, knowing fully well that they will have to abandon it sooner or later. They say that they want to make South Africa safe for the white people for a thousand years. The present rulers of South Africa have been very closely following Nazi Germanys policy. They were great supporters of Hitler during the war and they opposed the war effort of the South African Government. They are fascist-minded and want to hold onto their privileges, depending upon the power of the State, its police, military and Air Force to keep that power as long as it is possible for them to do so.

Apartheid tyranny The word apartheid, when literally translated into English, means separateness. Different racial groups are to live separately so that there should be no question of their coming together. That is the simple meaning of the word apartheid. But in the context of South African politics, it is something more than that. The system of apartheid was introduced in the year 1948 by the National Party, which is still the ruling party in South Africa. At that time Dr. Malan was the leader of the Party. Today Dr. Verwoerd is its leader. It is mainly a party of Afrikaans-speaking people, that is, people of Dutch origin. Out of three million whites, 60 per cent are people of Dutch origin. The remaining 40 per cent are English-speaking people. These are mainly of British origin but there are also amongst them people from other parts of the continent of Europe.

In the 1948 election, the first one after the war, the Nationalists came out with the policy of apartheid against the traditional policy of segregation which successive white Governments had followed. Under the policy of segregation, political rights were denied to the non-white people. There was segregation in every sphere, so that whites and non-whites could not come together. That policy has been followed since the time the white people came to South Africa in 1652. They had landed at the Cape of Good Hope, which is now Cape Town. They were looking for the spices of the East but by accident their ship got wrecked and they landed at the Cape. Since then Africans have had to face misery. As the white people moved up, they had to fight bitter wars against the settled African population. So far as courage and strategy were concerned, the African people were better than the white men but the latter possessed superior arms. Therefore, gradually the whole of the area of the Union of South Africa was swallowed up by the whites. The Africans were robbed of their land. There is a saying amongst Africans that when the white man first came to South Africa he had the Bible and we had the land; now we have the Bible and the white man has the land.

When at the turn of the century there was a war between the English people and the Boers, the Boers were defeated but eventually self-government was given and in 1910 the Union was formed. The Act of Union prescribed that there should be no rights for the non-white people. That was a betrayal on the part of the British Government who in spite of the representations made by the organisations of the non-white people, sacrificed all their rights and gave a constitution in which the non-white people did not get any franchise or any say in the affairs of the State.

Then came the Land Act of 1913, which deprived the African people of their land. The result today is that 80 percent of the South African population, consisting of non-white people, mostly African, have only 13 percent of the land and 20 percent of the population that is, the whites today own 87 percent of land. One can imagine the land hunger and poverty of the African people. Then there were the pass laws which control and regulate the freedom of movement of the African people. The aim of these measures was to ensure cheap labour for the gold mines, which were then thriving, and for the white mans farms. Later, with industrial development, there was need for providing cheap labour for industries. Cheap labour being thus ensured, the white people benefited from it and enjoyed all the prosperity at the expense of the blood, sweat and lives of the non whites.

When the Second World War came there were those who opposed it. But in spite of them there was war effort and industrial development took place in South Africa. One of the natural consequences of industrial development is that there is influx of people from rural areas into industrial areas. Precisely the same thing happened in South Africa. This influx of non-white people took place in spite of the restrictive laws and it could not be stopped. With this contact came the question of apartheid. The Nationalist Party, in the interest of the white farmers, sponsored the policy of apartheid. In industry there was a policy of laissez faire supported by General Smuts who was Prime Minister during the war. In 1942 when the Japanese submarines were around the African ports, Smuts said 'segregation, is gone. He said that in order to mobilise the non-white people in the fight against the fascists, people were allowed to come into towns and some form of integration was taking place. With industrial development, black people came into the towns and naturally mixed with the whites.

The Nationalist Party demanded that there must be a conscious, calculated effort on the part of Government to bring to a halt this form of insidious integration. When after the war we had the elections, the majority voted the Nationalists into power.

Since then we have had this policy of apartheid. Every movement of a non-white person is controlled or regulated or governed by the laws of the country. We thus have in South Africa a system of racial discrimination sanctioned by law, which is the worst in the history of mankind. Of course, there has been discrimination in many parts of the world. People in Asian countries and in other parts of Africa have suffered from discrimination of one kind or another. But here is discrimination sanctioned by law and enforced by the authority of the State against a section of the population on the ground that it is not white. Merit does not count. I may be a doctor, but when I walk in the street, I am a 'coolie'. People of mixed breed or Coloured people are no better treated. That happens in education and in social welfare. This kind of system makes life absolutely intolerable.

Is it surprising that people in South Africa should rise against this tyranny? We have been conducting a struggle for 50 years or more. Non-white people have had to suffer for it, many have been killed, sent to prison or sent out of the country and so on. In this decade, when territory after territory in Africa is becoming independent, there is a great upsurge on the part of the African people which no one can prevent. Freedom is coming to other territories in Africa. That has its impact on the non-white people of South Africa, who are determined to carry on the struggle to the bitter end. Until they have won their freedom, basic human rights and their self-respect, this struggle will go on.

A world-wide struggle What about the other countries of the world? Can they do anything to help? The struggle against racial discrimination has been a world-wide struggle. A bond of solidarity has existed between all those who are engaged in this struggle. The struggle against racial discrimination is a part of that against colonialism. South Africa constitutes a base against all people striving for freedom and equal rights. You have seen what has happened in the Congo. What the colonialists gave with one hand, they tried to take back with the other. But they will not succeed in their desire in the Congo. The Portuguese too will have to forego their African possessions. The struggle in Africa is part of a common struggle of the African people. The independent African States recognise that fact, and nobody in Africa is prepared to tolerate the policy of apartheid followed by Dr. Verwoerd.

At the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference to be held in London a week hence, Dr. Nkrumah, President of Ghana and Alhaji (Tafewa) Balewa of Nigeria are bound to make that clear.

At the time of the last years Conference, a state of emergency was declared in South Africa, about 2,000 leaders were arrested and the two main political organisations of the African people were declared illegal. These organisations are now functioning underground. Most of the leaders were arrested but some of us who managed to escape the net were asked by our organisations to go out of South Africa to work abroad for the cause. Of course we could not have got permission and passports to leave South Africa from the Government

The South African United Front comprises five organisations of South Africa and South West Africa. South West Africa is a mandated territory, which was given as a trust territory to Britain after the First World War. Britain in turn gave it to South Africa to manage it as a trust territory. The Government of Dr. Verwoerd has incorporated South West Africa into the Union of South Africa, unconstitutionally and illegally. The question is before the United Nations as to what should be done about it. The matter has been referred to the International Court at the Hague. The Government of South Africa is trying to find a loophole for maintaining that since no provision was made when the United Nations was formed that this territory would go to the United Nations, it belongs to South Africa. The United Nations itself has not accepted the South African position.

Boycott South Africa It is our duty to thank the Government and people of Pakistan for their constant support in our struggle during all these years. We want to thank also the people of other countries that have supported us. At the same time we ask them now to do something positive and resolute to help us. We demand that there should be a boycott of South Africa and it should be isolated in the international field in every possible way, diplomatically, culturally, economically. So far as this is concerned we are very glad that the independent States of Africa at a conference last June resolved not to have diplomatic relations with South Africa and that is now being implemented by them. They are also considering the question of not allowing South African planes to fly over or land in their territories. The African States are determined also not to allow South African ships or South African goods to come into their territories. The movement is not confined to Africa. Malaya has just imposed a trade boycott against South Africa . That has also been done by the Caribbean States like Trinidad and Jamaica.

Then there are voluntary movements for the boycott of South African goods. There has been tremendous support for our stand from people in Britain, where it is now being officially supported by the Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress and unofficially by other organisations. A similar movement is afoot in the Scandinavian countries and it has been just as successful as that in Britain. To a lesser extent movements of this kind are winning support in other European countries and in the United States of America.

For our part we shall not be satisfied with the boycott of South African goods. We want economic sanctions against South Africa to be imposed by the United Nations. Every year the policy of apartheid has been condemned by an overwhelming majority in the United Nations. We appeal to the member States of the United Nations to wholeheartedly supports the proposal in the General Assembly for imposing economic sanctions against South Africa.

Membership of Commonwealth

Then there is the question of South Africa's membership of Commonwealth, a conference of whose Prime Ministers is to begin on 8 March in London. We appeal to member States to take steps to exclude South Africa from the Commonwealth. South Africa has decided to become a republic through a referendum, a referendum which was confined to the white people. Eighty percent of the South African population was excluded from it. Perhaps we want a republic; but we were not consulted about it. When the constitutional form of a member country is changed, it has to re-apply for the membership of the Commonwealth. South Africa has now to seek admission as a republic. We ask the Prime Ministers of all the Commonwealth countries to refuse it admission.

There are some people who say that if South Africa is thrown out of the Commonwealth, there will be no restraining influence on its policies. Dr. Verwoerd will impose further restrictive and oppressive measures on the people. Would it not be better to have South Africa in the Commonwealth so that we might exercise some check on its policies?

South Africa has been a member of the Commonwealth for many a long year but that has not had any restraining effect on its Government. On the other hand South Africa has been using its prestige as a member of the Commonwealth to further oppress non-white people. The factor of economic relations within the Commonwealth has been used by the South African Government against the non-white people. You know what will happen if South Africa is retained as a member? Dr. Verwoerd will go back from the Conference and proclaim to the whites that South Africa is still a member of the Commonwealth and he will be acclaimed as a hero by them. At the time of the referendum there were some among the whites who opposed the creation of a republic on the ground that if they did that they would be thrown out of the Commonwealth and isolated in the international world. Dr. Verwoerd and his colleagues went round the country and assured the white people that nothing of that sort would happen and that South Africa would remain a member of the Commonwealth. If Dr. Verwoerd goes back successful then he will have strengthened his position amongst the white electors, and have a freer hand to carry out his detested policies. On the contrary if South Africa is excluded from the Commonwealth, that will disillusion the whites

They will then know that these policies will not receive even the tacit support of people of the Commonwealth. That will have a salutary effect on the whites.

I must say one thing clearly, namely, that when I speak of white people I mean the majority of them. There are brave and courageous whites who abhor racial discrimination and apartheid. We respect and love them for the sacrifices they have made in common with us for our cause. Some of the Church leaders have also supported us. Men like Bishop Reeves and Alan Paton, a great writer and author, have had to go out of Africa. They had the courage of their convictions to condemn and speak against apartheid. There are others like them. There are also white industrialists who are perturbed because of the unfavourable reaction of the world to South Africa's racial policies. Its economic position is affected and people outside no longer look upon South Africa as a stable field for investment. By excluding South Africa from the Commonwealth you will further isolate it and weaken the position of those among the whites who advocate apartheid.

Tragedy can be averted We do not believe that our battle will be won by outside pressure alone. We know that the struggle will have to be carried on, as it is being carried on, by our people, legally or illegally, openly or underground. As time goes on, that struggle will become more bitter and hard. There is still time when external pressure can help to shorten the duration of the struggle, to minimise bloodshed and violence on the part of the Government and reduce the suffering of the people. If timely action is not taken, we may see in South Africa, whether we like it or not, a situation similar to that in Algeria, perhaps on a bigger scale. That tragedy can be averted only through the active intervention of all justice loving people of the world

We have seen several Prime Ministers and we shall be seeing your Foreign Minister. Then we shall go to London. There Dr. Verwoerd will face a severe attack from the Prime Minister of the Malayan Federation and from other Prime Ministers. The Malayan Prime Minister has made it quite clear that the question of apartheid will be raised in the Commonwealth Conference in spite of the fact that Mr. Macmillan who having spoken of "the wind of change sweeping the Continent of Africa has been trying his best that there should be no controversy about it. Mr. Diefenbaker too has made his position clear to Mr. Macmillan and so has Dr. Nkrumah. So far as others are concerned, they have not yet spoken their minds but we know what they think about it. In any case Dr. Verwoerd is not going to have an easy time. A policy such as his cannot be tolerated in the year 1961 and it cannot last.

Forced Withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth - Historic Step Forward in Struggle Against Apartheid

Message from London to the South African people, March 1961

The enforced withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth is a resounding victory for our people, and marks an historic step forward in our struggle against apartheid and for democratic rights.

This is a stunning defeat for Verwoerd and a dismal failure for Macmillan in his frantic attempt to retain Dr. Verwoerd's Government within the Commonwealth by means of tricky manoeuvres both prior to and during the Commonwealth conference.

The Prime Ministers, determined stand is a tribute to their steadfast opposition to racial discrimination, as well as a tribute to the solidarity of the peoples in all their countries with the struggle of the South African masses against apartheid and for freedom.

The world is solidly against Verwoerd's racial policies.

We are now engaged in a campaign - to urge economic sanctions through the United Nations;

to call upon workers not to handle South African goods; to press upon the British Government to honour the spirit of the Common wealth conference decision and not have back door trade and other deals with the Verwoerd Government; and to work for world-wide isolation of South Africa in the international field.

This new development opens up vast possibilities for us to make further inroads into the bastion of racialism and white supremacy built by the herrenvolk supporters of Dr. Verwoerd and his Nationalist Party. The people at home must redouble their efforts and work with renewed energy in opposing every facet of Dr. Verwoerd's Government. The Pietermaritzburg All-African Conference deserves every success in its demand for a national convention backed up by mass action for its speedy realisation.

Verwoerd's end is near. The warm rays of Africa's dawn of freedom will soon be felt in our beloved land.

Why the South Africa United Front Failed: Disruptive Role of the Pan Africanist Congress

Article published in New Age, March 29, 1962

"The South Africa United Front has been dissolved, said the statement issued by the representatives of the African National Congress (ANC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), South West Africa National Union (SWANU) and South African Indian Congress (SAIC) - Messrs Oliver Tambo, Nana Mahomo, J. Kozonguizi and Dr. Y. M. Dadoo respectively - after a meeting of the South Africa United Front held in London on 13 March 1962.

Behind this bland statement lies the history of the Front's achievements and also of the causes which led to its tragic downfall.

The South Africa United Front was formed abroad soon after the Sharpeville massacre, when the Verwoerd Government had unleashed a regime of terror, murder and violence. Our leading organisations were suppressed and many of our leaders and other democrats were detained without trial.

Our aim We then felt that despite the deep differences that marked the policies of the ANC and with it the SAIC on the one hand and the PAC on the other, this crisis was so overwhelming in character as to demand of those of us abroad the joining of our forces in a united front with a view to seeking the sympathy and support of the peoples and Governments of the world for our struggle, to bring international economic and political pressure on the South African Government and in general to secure its expulsion from the world community of nations.

We believed that by uniting with this purpose we would help and inspire our peoples and bring nearer the victory of their struggles.

Much was achieved in the early stages of the United Front's existence. By concentrating on what was common to all our policies and aims, we succeeded in winning wide international support for our cause. The trade boycott became one of the most important and, politically at least, the most effective instrument of world solidarity against apartheid.

We won effective support from virtually every independent African State Largely through our efforts South Africa had to withdraw from the Commonwealth.

Divisions How-ever, these successes by themselves had not proved strong enough to consolidate or develop the unity of the United Front. Instead, the United Front became increasingly ineffective. It soon reached the point where it was doing little if anything to further the aims and tasks we had originally set ourselves. As a result the Front quickly fell into disrepute.

United Fronts in general demand a high level of discipline and integrity from their participants. They call for absolute honesty and frankness, for a regular discussion of outstanding problems and difficulties and above all for unity in action. They forbid public attacks of one partner by another. They prohibit conspiracies, underhand schemes designed to undermine one or other partner of the front.

This discipline has been shown to be of no less importance by the SAUF. We knew that existence as a united front depended heavily on the absence of recrimination and attack on each other and on our organisations in South Africa.

The ANC and the SAIC representatives tried hard to maintain the integrity of the United Front on these bases. They conscientiously held back from expounding their own policies abroad in their desire to maintain faithfully the unity of the Front. They refused, in spite of repeated provocations, to engage in attacks on their principal partner, the PAC. They always confronted their partners with common problems and had even compromised aspects of their policies - all with a view to maintaining the unity and cohesion of the Front

Slander campaign On the other hand, the PAC had acted differently. The PAC and its overseas representatives and members - despite their presence in the Front - had already at an earlier stage embarked on a campaign of willful slander and attack on the African National Congress and its leaders

They directed their energy mainly towards establishing for the PAC the image that it alone was the leading organisation of the African people, commanding overwhelming support - a wholly fraudulent image in terms of the actual balance of strength of our organisations in South Africa.

Through malicious distortion and lies, the ANC was presented as being both conservative and the instrument of Communists, whites and Indian merchants.

Behind the back of the United Front, the PAC representatives worked for privileged contacts with governments and public organisations abroad.

Within the Front itself, the PAC representatives proved to be particularly difficult allies; they tried to foist their organisations chauvinistic policies on the Front itself. They persistently refused to permit the Front to invite the support of other well-known anti apartheid forces in South Africa.

These unprincipled methods of the PAC abroad were matched by a particularly treasonable PAC act towards the struggle of our people in South Africa itself. After having been invited and given positions of importance in the campaign for a National Convention and a three-day national strike in May last, members of the PAC withdrew at a vital stage of the campaigns preparations. Not stopping at this attempt to sow confusion, the PAC then treacherously tried to scab the strike by distributing anti-strike leaflets. Any basis for unity in South Africa was thus removed.

Furthermore, we understand that the PAC organisation abroad is now split into two sections each claiming to speak in the name of the organisation, one having expelled the other and both engaging in mutual recrimination of a most embarrassing kind. This has created abroad considerable doubt about the authority and political substance of the PAC representatives.

These then are the factors which have led to the dissolution of the United Front. This regrettable course may cause some disquiet among many of our supporters and friends. We are, however, confident that they will understand the reasons for the dissolution and will continue to support the cause we have stood for: the winning of a free and democratic South Africa, of full and equal opportunities for all our people based on a common non-racial citizenship, of one man one vote and the liberation of our people from the poverty and ignorance so assiduously fostered by the regime of apartheid.

Statement from the Dock Before Being Sentenced in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court for Defying Banning Orders, July 1952(7)


By virtue of my professional activities I have been brought into very close contact with the lives of many people in our multi-racial community and I have found that the problems of public health and the well being of the people have been aggravated to an alarming degree by the pernicious system of colour bars and racial discrimination which obtain in South Africa.

It is shocking to realise that this system has reduced the overwhelming majority of our population, namely the Non-European people, to a state of chronic malnutrition, ill-health, illiteracy and poverty. Indeed, more than that, the stigma of racial inferiority has engendered in the minds of the non-white people not only frustration but a deep sense of resentment against the whole fabric of society in which they are treated as sub-humans...

It is therefore that I felt it a matter of duty to express in some tangible and concrete form my and the people's disapproval of the highhanded and unwarranted actions of the Minister and in doing so I happen to fall foul of what I consider to be an unjust and diabolical law.

We are law-abiding citizens and are prepared to obey all laws made for the peace, order and the good government of the country. But laws in the making of which we have no say and which are bad and unjust and calculated to disturb the peace and harmony can not only not be tacitly approved of but must be fought by every legitimate means at the disposal of the people.

The proposal made by Archbishop Hurley when he addressed the Indo-European Joint Council at Pietermaritzburg to the effect that the Indian community make a "gesture of goodwill, that they accept residential segregation as a means of allaying European fears in the interests of better understanding and as a means of furthering their own development towards full citizenship." falls flat as a pancake.

The Indians are mere mortals, of course, and as such pay heed to the magnanimous advice of the Archbishop. However, if residential segregation is a means of allaying European fears, then Europeans have no cause to fear.

The Indian community of South Africa has already been segregated and their occupational position pegged down by laws of the land which disgrace the Statute Book of South Africa and offend Christian morality.

As the Asiatic Land Tenure Act of 1946 and the many laws which preceded it have compulsorily and forcibly pegged down the position of the Indian he is no longer in a position to move his residential occupation into any area he likes. We may, furthermore, respectfully draw the attention of the Archbishop to the fact that this situation has not been sufficient to satisfy the racialism of the Nationalist Government of Dr. Malan.

It has seen fit in its Calvinistic fervour to enact what is called the Group Areas Act of 1950, the provisions of which will force not only the Indians, but all non-white groups, into separate racial areas and thereby attempt to force the poor Indian minority to quit this country bag and baggage.

The Archbishop's proposal is not only wholly unjustified, but also misdirected. In all humility it is the Christian task of Archbishop Hurley and indeed of all Christians to demand as a Christian duty that the Nationalist Government repeal all unjust and racially discriminatory laws and abide by the Christian principle of human brotherhood and, if unable to do so, resign gracefully so that Christian and human principles of equality and brotherhood may find an abiding place in our country which we love so dearly.


The South African Indian Congress

1. The South African Indian Congress is, as stated in the memorandum submitted to the late Mr. Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on his visit to South Africa, the major political organisation of the approximately 600,000 people of Indian origin in South Africa.

2. In pursuance of its policy and programme of fighting against the racialist policies of the South African Government, the South African Indian Congress in 1947, through the Dadoo-Xuma-Naicker Pact, entered into cooperation with the African National Congress.

In 1952 the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress launched the historic Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws as a result of which Africans and Indians went to prison demonstrating their opposition to the tyrannical laws which were being enacted by the Nationalist Government of Dr. Malan.

3. The South African Indian Congress, as a result of the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People sponsored by the African National Congress, amended its constitution to make the Charter part of its aims and objects.

Thus the South African Indian Congress, as well as the South African Coloured People's Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats (an organisation of progressive whites which has now been banned by the South African Government) and the South African Congress of Trade Unions are fully committed to the Freedom Charter under the leadership of the African National Congress.

4. On this basis the South African Indian Congress continued to undertake jointly with the African National Congress and other organisations, further campaigns which followed the Congress of the People.

Many of its leaders were involved in the Treason Trial, arrested and detained under the Emergency Laws in 1960 and banned under the Suppression of Communism Act.

5. One of the major tasks of the South African Indian Congress has been in the forefront of the resistance of the Indian and non-white people against the Group Areas Act of 1950. The application of this inhuman measure whereby Indians are compulsorily evicted from their hearth and homes to live in separate areas or ghettos set aside for them on open veld outside of and miles away from the cities and industries, cuts them off completely from the mainstream of social and economic life.

6. The South African Indian Congress and its constituent bodies, the Natal Indian Congress and the Transvaal Indian Congress, have suffered heavy casualties as a result of the repressive measures of the Government. In terms of the provisions of the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 and the General Laws Amendment Acts of 1962 and 1963, most of the officials and leading members of the organisation have been banned, charged with sabotage, placed under house arrest or put into detention.

The South African Indian Congress has not yet been formally declared unlawful, as was the African National Congress. But this makes little difference. As a result of the restrictive orders served upon its officials and members, the South African Indian Congress is therefore as effectively muzzled as the African National Congress.

Submission of matters related to the mandate of the Expert Group

7. In terms of the resolution adopted by the Security Council on 4th December 1963, the Group is mandated "to examine methods of resolving the present situation through full, peaceful and orderly application of human rights and fundamental freedoms to all inhabitants of the territory as a whole, regardless of race, colour or creed, and to consider what part the United Nations might play in the achievement of that end."

In respect of this the South African Indian Congress wishes to make the following submissions:

(a) The application of human rights and fundamental freedoms can only be achieved through the establishment of a democratic State ensuring fully elective institutions on the basis of adult franchise of one-man-one-vote. In this respect the African National Congress, the South African Indian Congress and other organisations of the Congress movement stand for the translation into reality of the principles of the Freedom Charter.

The Maritzburg All-in African Conference of March 1961, representing almost the entire African population, called for a fully representative National Convention, elected by all South Africans irrespective of colour, to frame a democratic constitution for the country.

This just and practical demand for the peaceful solution of the situation was completely ignored by the South African Government, and on the question of consultation with the African people, the Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, made the following statement in the South African House of Assembly on January 25, 1963:

"Reduced to its simplest form the problem is nothing else than this: We want to keep South Africa white. 'Keeping it white' can only mean one thing, namely white domination. Not 'leadership'. not 'guidance', but 'control', 'supremacy'".

(b) The South African Government has continuously and contemptuously defied all the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council urging it to revise its racial policies and initiate measures "aimed at bringing racial harmony based on equality".

The extraordinary gravity of the situation was recognised by the United Nations General Assembly. Not only was the South African Government enforcing its apartheid policies by increasing internal repression and the use of brute force and leading the country into a state of violence, murder and racial war, but was also threatening the security of the African continent as a whole, and endangering international peace and security. By its flagrant violations of international obligations as a member State of the United Nations and by its flagrant defiance of United Nations decisions the South African Government directly threatens the existence of the United Nations and its peace-keeping functions.

It was in the light of this situation that the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 1761 on November 6, 1962, calling upon all member States to apply specific measures of sanctions as outlined in paragraph 4 of the same resolution.(9)

Further, the General Assembly set up a special committee to keep South Africa's apartheid policies under review and requested the Security Council "to take appropriate measures, including sanctions" and to consider taking action under Article 6 of the Charter which provides for the expulsion of a member State which persistently violates the principles of the Charter.

At the request of the African countries, the Security Council met twice in 1963 to consider the South African question. At its first meeting it called for am embargo on the supply of arms, ammunition and military equipment to South Africa. In December, the Security Council decided to extend the sanction on arms supply by calling on all member States to ban the shipment of equipment and material required by South Africa for the domestic manufacture of arms and ammunition. Further, the Security Council added its influential voice to the world-wide demand for the release of political prisoners and for abandoning the trials of anti-apartheid leaders now taking place in the country. The 1963 session of the General Assembly added to its 1962 recommendation of specific measures for sanctions by calling upon member States to stop the supply of oil to South Africa. The report of the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid of September 1963 went a step further in its recommendations to the Security Council and the General Assembly.

"The Special Committee feels that they should consider, without further delay, possible new measures in accordance with the Charter, which provides for stronger political, diplomatic and economic sanctions, suspension of rights and privileges of the Republic of South Africa as a member State, and expulsion from the United Nations and its specialised agencies."

(c) The decisions on sanctions are timely and in keeping with the growing world-wide demand for effective actions to bring the whole apartheid structure in South Africa to a speedy end.

By the time the 1963 session of the General Assembly met, forty-six countries had formally informed the Secretary-General that they were implementing the United Nations resolutions on sanctions, whilst another twenty-one countries had publicly declared at various times that they had not maintained or had ended their trade and political relations with South Africa. This ready response by well over half the countries of the world has brought the issue of sanctions well within the scope of realisation and implementation.

(d) However, despite this achievement, South Africa's foreign trade is expanding and its economy is going through what is claimed to be an unprecedented boom.

The fact that South Africa's economy had continued to flourish since the boycott decision is primarily due to the unwillingness of the imperialist States, particularly Britain and the United States of America, to comply with the decisions of the United Nations. They continued to trade and extend their capital investments and helped to build up the South African military machine by continuing to supply arms and equipment.

Between 1962 and 1963 Britain, the United States of America and the capitalist countries of Western Europe pushed up their exports to South Africa by well over a quarter, raising their share of South African import trade from 65.8 percent to 70 percent. They also continued to maintain their high volume of purchases of South African products, taking well over 60 percent of her exports. Between 1960 and 1963 there was an increase in American capital investment in South Africa from $ 590 million to $ 700 million.


8. Repeated appeals by the United Nations over the last ten years have been completely ignored by South Africa. No purpose can now be served by similar appeals since failure to take effective action only encourages South Africa to believe that it can with impunity ignore these appeals.

Nothing less than the most energetic enforcement of the sanctions resolution can have the desired effect and any delay in implementing it will have the effect of weakening the authority and prestige of the United Nations as an international force for peace, security and justice.

9. No solution of the South African situation is possible without the total abandonment of the racial policies of apartheid and no useful purpose can be served by entering into an examination of methods other than one of seeking the most direct ways and means of making the operative clause, paragraph 4, of the November 1962 resolution of the General Assembly enforceable.

The South African Government has made its stand clear. It does not even recognise the right of the United Nations to interfere in any way with its treatment of the non-white people and it rejects the idea that there is an alternative to apartheid.

The choice before the world was aptly put by Bishop Reeves, former Bishop of Johannesburg, in his speech before the Special Political Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in October 1963, in the following words:

"The choice is between effective international action and the probability of bloodshed on a vast scale in South Africa. And the choice cannot be evaded by maintaining that all that exists in South Africa is a form of government which many people find repugnant. That I suppose is true of many governments. But in South Africa there is a situation in which the majority of the inhabitants at this moment are living in a fully-fledged police State under a tyranny which is a flagrant contradiction of the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations."

10. The main problem confronting the United Nations in securing the most resolute and energetic implementation and enforcement of sanctions by all member States is the deliberate refusal by the major imperialist Powers to comply with its resolutions on the pretence that these decisions are not "mandatory" on member States. In this way they, as the trading partners of South Africa, want to undermine the efforts of the large majority of countries which is carrying out these decisions.

It is imperative that adequate measures be taken to impel these Powers to abide by majority decisions and thereby be made to play their proper role on the crucial issue of South Africa on which hinges the future of the United Nations itself.

11. The situation in South Africa is deteriorating rapidly. Thousands of brave men and women are behind bars and many hundreds are facing severe sentences and even the maximum penalty of death for sabotage in the many trials now before the courts of the country. The Rivonia trial in which nine outstanding and recognised leaders of the overwhelming majority of the people are involved, is coming to an end and the verdict of the court in this case may well mark a turning point in South Africa's history - a turn for the worse leading to a bloody and violent conflict on an unprecedented scale.

This perilous situation calls for the most stringent action on a world-wide scale. South Africa must be quarantined, completely isolated in every sphere of international relationships, diplomatically, economically, socially and culturally, and steps taken for her exclusion from the United Nations and all international agencies and bodies. All traffic in arms and goods of all kinds must cease forthwith; all oil supplies must be cut off; a total ban must be placed on all ships and aircraft trading with her.

The South African Indian Congress, therefore, appeals to your Expert Group to request the Secretary-General that the Security Council be called upon to take immediate steps along these lines, in conformity with the United Nations resolutions of 1962 and 1963 and taking into consideration the recommendations of the Special Committee on Apartheid.

(Dr.) Y. M. Dadoo
Former President and Accredited Representative of the South African Indian Congress
March 6, 1964


The publication of Sechaba as a regular monthly journal is to be welcomed as a further source of information for the already powerful and well-sustained worldwide movement of condemnation of apartheid, and the ever-growing international campaign for sanctions against South Africa.

We are fully aware that the ending of the whole evil system of apartheid and the complete annihilation of white minority rule depends on the united struggle of the oppressed peoples themselves. We are confident that the African, Indian and Coloured peoples, and the small but determined band of white progressives, will emerge victorious under the revolutionary leadership of the African National Congress.

But at the same time we are not unmindful of the fact that international solidarity action is of the utmost importance and that no effort should be spared to build up adequate international pressures to prevail upon Britain, the USA, France, West Germany and Japan - the main props of the whole edifice of white supremacy in southern Africa - to impose total economic sanctions through the United Nations.

I am confident that in the prosecution of this important task, Sechaba will play a useful role by bringing before world public opinion every known instance of injustice committed in apartheid South Africa and by laying bare the facts of apartheid oppression and the danger it constitutes to the security of Africa and the peace of the world.

Long live Sechaba!

Amandla! Ngawethu


QUESTION: Dr. Dadoo, you have just published a leaflet which is the first public call you have made to the Indian people since you left South Africa in 1960.(12)

Can you tell us what the background to this leaflet is, and why you have chosen to make your call at this time?

ANSWER: Today, history is witnessing a decisive turning point in the struggle for national liberation in South Africa. Armed struggle has begun. Under the leadership of the African National Congress in alliance with the Congress movement, the brave freedom fighters of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) are on the march. Already combat units of Umkhonto, together with contingents of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, are giving battle to the armed forces of Ian Smith and Vorster in Rhodesia. Reliable reports from the battle front, contrary to the whitewashing accounts put out by the South African press and radio, indicate that the freedom fighters are fighting with great daring and skill, and are inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Even the enemy has to admit that the freedom fighters, whom he calls "terrorists", are not only well armed but highly skillful in the use of their weapons. It is on the cards that soon there will be fighting on South African soil.

So, in this new period of armed struggle and developing revolutionary upheavals, it is necessary to make every section of the South African population, both white and black, aware of the changing situation and of the tasks and responsibilities that it is being called upon to fulfill. As a leader of the Indian people, it is my duty to ask them to respond unreservedly to the call made by the Acting President of the African National Congress, our comrade Oliver Tambo, in which he says: "As our forces drive deeper into the south we have no doubt that they will be joined not by some, but by the whole African nation; by the oppressed minorities, the Indian and Coloured people; and by an increasing number of white democrats".

I have no doubt that the Indians will respond readily, and with the same spirit of self-sacrifice and determination that they have shown throughout their long and bitter struggles against segregation, and for human rights, ever since the days of Gandhiji.

Role of the Indian people

Q: What precise role do you expect the Indian people to play in this new phase of the struggle?

A: As an integral part of the South African population, the Indian community of half a million people has a very important role to play in the new form the struggle has taken. The militant Indian youth, who played not an insignificant part in the early struggles of Umkhonto since 1961 - several of them are serving long terms of imprisonment on Robben Island and in other South African jails together with their African, Coloured and White comrades-in-arms - have yet a larger role to play in the liberation army, and in mobilising the Indian people in town and country to support and help the freedom fighters in every possible way. The Indian people must and will, I am certain, help to make the path of freedom fighters easy. They must also mount ever-increasing resistance to every aspect of apartheid: the Group Areas Act must not be allowed to govern them; they must oppose and reject the regime's stooge body, the South African Indian Council, which is being used by Vorster as an instrument to obtain the collaboration of the Indian people in the implementation of apartheid policies. Every form of opposition to apartheid is of help to the freedom fighters in the war against white supremacy.

Q: The South African Indian Congress is still technically a legal organisation. How legal is it in practice, and how is it functioning? And how will the publication of the leaflet, calling for support for the armed struggle, affect the organisation?

A: The SAIC is a legal organisation only in name. The terror let loose by the Government through the Special Branch has made the legal functioning of the SAIC and its constituent bodies, the Natal Indian Congress and the Transvaal Indian Congress, impossible. Every one of its office-bearers and committee members at national, provincial and branch level, has been banned, imprisoned or driven into exile. And this applies to the members appointed to replace those banned and imprisoned, and again to those appointed to replace them. The legal functioning of the organisation is now impossible. But the new leaflet, and the fact that it is being distributed in spite of all the penalties, bears witness to the fact that the spirit of resistance for which the South African Indian Congress stands, lives on, and that no power on earth can crush it.

The Congress Movement

Q: You spoke earlier of the Congress Movement. Can you tell us something of the background of the alliance between the South African Indian Congress, the African National Congress and the other organisations of the Congress Movement?

A: Freedom is indivisible. A section of the population cannot be free if the rest is in bondage. In the course of their struggle against unjust laws, and for the redress of their grievances, the Indian people began to realise that no fundamental changes were possible without unity of action between all the oppressed people. And it was this realisation that made the younger members of the Indian Congress, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, set about trying to change the policies of the Congress in order to seek cooperation in the common struggle with the premier national organisation of the African people, the ANC, and with the national organisation of the Coloured people. A similar spirit also prevailed among the younger elements in the African political movement and in the Coloured community. This led to the formation of united front bodies to campaign to show the people that they must act unitedly, and to bring about changes in the national organisation (and necessary changes of leadership) to follow the new policies of cooperation and united struggle.

To bring about the changes in the Indian Congress, vigorous campaigns had to be conducted amongst the Indian people, and many bitter battles had to be fought against the "moderate" leadership of the time. Members of the progressive groups were assaulted, sometimes brutally. In the Transvaal, a volunteer of the progressive group was actually killed.(13)

But with the crushing of the moderate leadership it was possible for the Indian people once again to conduct a militant campaign - the Passive Resistance Campaign against Smuts` "Ghetto Act" in 1946. This was entirely a struggle of the Indian people, but a few African and Coloured volunteers participated as a gesture of solidarity.

Simultaneously there was a change in the leadership of the ANC, and this made possible cooperation between the Indian Congress and the African National Congress through a pact known as the Xuma-Naicker-Dadoo Pact of 1947. After that many joint struggles were conducted, such as the stay-at-home on May 1, 1950, the stay-at-home on June 26, 1950 (the first South Africa Freedom Day), and the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign of 1952 in which over 8,000 volunteers of all races defied laws and went to prison. Under the leadership of the ANC, in alliance with the organisations of the Indian and Coloured people, of the workers and of the progressive whites, the Congress of the People was held in 1955 - at which the Freedom Charter was adopted by over 3,000 delegates of all races. This Charter became the programme of all the organisations participating in the Congress Movement, and laid the basis for a united struggle for the transformation of South Africa. A Joint Consultative Council of all the organisations continued to operate until the premier organisation, the ANC, was banned in 1960.

The Campaigns of 1946 and 1952

Q: What, in your opinion, did the Indian Passive Resistance Campaign of 1946 and the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign in 1952 achieve?

A: With the departure of Gandhiji from South Africa in 1914 and with the removal from the political scene of some of his staunchest lieutenants because of death or old age, the leadership of the Indian community fell into the hands of "moderates" who believed in compromising with the Government on each and every legislative measure of racial discrimination against the Indian people. The Indian Congress was reduced to representing, by and large, the voice of the small Indian merchant class only.

The campaign for all-out resistance against all discriminatory legislation conducted by the younger progressive group among the Indian people culminated not only in ousting the moderate leadership but also in transforming the Indian Congress into a mass organisation of the whole people.

The Indian Passive Resistance Campaign of 1946 against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act, enacted by the Smuts Government brought together in a united struggle all sections: the working people who constituted 80 percent of the Indian community, the professional class and traders. The unity it wrought was indeed so powerful that not a single Indian accepted even the limited franchise which the Act offered.

The Campaign of 1946, furthermore, laid a strong basis among the Indian people for the subsequent unity with the African National Congress and the other organisations of the Congress Movement in the struggle for liberation. The Campaign also made a significant impact internationally. It made the Indian community appreciate more fully the importance of international solidarity in the world-wide struggle against racialism, colonialism and imperialism. At the request of the SAIC, India demonstrated her solidarity by breaking off relations with South Africa and imposing economic sanctions. At its request India also took up the treatment of the South Africans of Indian and Pakistani origin at the United Nations. This was soon broadened to include the whole question of apartheid. Thus it is that the question of the apartheid policies of the fascist South African Government has been on the agenda of the United Nations Organisation ever since its inception.

The Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign, similarly, not only increased the attention of the world to the liberation struggles of the oppressed peoples; it also welded the masses of the African, Coloured and Indian peoples into a united force. Furthermore, it gave rise to the formation of the Congress of Democrats, a small but active group of white democrats, and the South African Congress of Trade Unions, who later joined the united front, popularly known as the Congress Alliance.

Q: How do you reconcile the tradition of passive resistance in SAIC with your call for support for armed struggle?

A: Passive resistance was never the ideology of the organisation, although it had been used as a method of struggle since it was introduced by Gandhiji in the early part of this century. The principles of Satyagraha as enunciated by Gandhiji were never accepted as a creed by the Indian people. It is true that in the SAIC, as a national organisation representing all interests and all viewpoints, there are some leaders - like Dr. G. M. Naicker and Nana Sita - who implicitly believe in Gandhian principles and who have lived by them; and of course we honour their convictions and their sufferings for their convictions. But in this connection it is significant to note that when the ANC and the SAIC jointly embarked upon the Defiance Campaign of 1952 it was deliberately not called a passive resistance campaign. It was called a Defiance Campaign, although it was non-violent. It expressed a more militant outlook, because most of the leaders had realised that in the situation of South Africa, where violence was the normal instrument of Government policy, there could arise a situation where no alternative would be left to the people, if they were to continue to fight for their freedom, but to resort to violent methods. When Umkhonto we Sizwe was formed, Indian youth readily responded to its call, and participated in its activities.

No liberation without African majority rule

Q: The argument has often been put to the Indian people in South Africa that as a minority group they would be no better off under African rule than they are under white rule. In the light of what has happened in Kenya, for instance, what is your answer to this argument?

A: This is absolute nonsense - it is merely the tactics of divide and rule used by the authorities in order to maintain the divisions of the people, as they already do by law, keeping the national groups apart and preventing intercommunication. This is the argument of the South African Police who seek to intimidate the people from participating in the struggle; it is the argument of their agents provocateurs in our midst who deliberately try to provoke hostility between African and Indian, African and Coloured, to convince each that their grievances are not the fault of an oppressive government, but of another oppressed group. They use this tactic precisely because it is our unity in the face of oppression that the oppressor most fears.

It must be understood that the fundamental of the liberation struggle is first and foremost the liberation of the majority of the population, the African people, and that it is unthinkable that there could be liberation without African majority rule.

South African Communists Speak

Introduction to South African Communists Speak: Documents from the History of the South African Communist Party, 1915-1980, London, 1981

This volume of documents has been produced to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the South African Communist Party on July 30, 1921. Our Party, the oldest Communist Party on the African continent, has a long and proud history of struggle to its credit - struggle against the inhumanity and injustice of race and class oppression flowing from the pursuit of private profit, struggle for the achievement of a saner and juster non-racial and non-exploitative society in which all South Africans will enjoy equal rights and opportunities based on the common ownership of the means of production and distribution.

Officially the Communist Party of South Africa (as it was called during its legal period) was formed on July 30, 1921, with the merging at a conference in Cape Town of a number of like-minded organisations based in the main centres of the country and proclaiming the philosophy of Marxism. The most important of these founding bodies, the International Socialist League, was formed in Johannesburg in September 1915,and it was this date that was often referred to by the early leaders of the Party as its birthday. In fact, the separate existence of what we may regard as a Communist nucleus came about even earlier, in September 1914, when the true socialists within the Labour Party formed the "War on War League" inside the Party to give expression to their opposition to capitalism and war and their determination to uphold the international solidarity of labour in the fight for socialism.

"Socialism and internationalism" - these have been the watchwords of the South African Communists from that day to the present. Above all, the socialism for which the Communists strove was not utopian but based on the scientific principles of Marxism. It was because of their adherence to Marxism that the South African Communists, who started their crusade as a minority of whites among the white minority, were able to weld together in their ranks representatives of all the various sections of the population opposed to racism, white domination and capitalist exploitation. It was because of their Marxism that the South African Communists have remained one of the staunchest components of the international Communist movement aiming at the elimination of imperialism and the achievement of a world socialist order. It has often been argued by our opponents that Communism was brought to our country by whites and foreigners, that it is an alien importation unacceptable to the indigenous majority. Our reply to this is that the concept of the brotherhood of man, of the sharing of the fruits of the earth, is common to all humanity, black and white, east and west, and has been formulated in one form or another throughout history. As Marx and Engels put it in The Communist Manifesto:

"The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes."

The composition of the South African proletariat was something dictated by history, by white conquest and settlement, the importation of capital following the discovery of gold and diamonds, the immigration of skilled white labour from abroad, the press ganging of unskilled labour from the ranks of the dispossessed blacks. The Communist Manifesto also pointed out:

"The Communists are distinguished from other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole. The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement. "

The immediate aim of the Communists, said The Manifesto, is the formation of the proletariat into a class, the overthrow of bourgeois supremacy, and the conquest of political power by the proletariat who constitute the immense majority of the population. Under the circumstances prevailing in South Africa at the time, it was inevitable that it was whites who would take the lead in the formation of a Communist Party. But it is a matter of record that the whites who pioneered our movement, men like W. H. Andrews, D. Ivon Jones, S.P. Bunting and their colleagues, realised from the outset that, if it was true, as they proclaimed, that "socialism, to be effective, must be international ", it was equally true that "an internationalism which does not concede the fullest rights which the Native working class is capable of claiming will be a sham".

From the outset the Communists sought to bring the black workers into their movement, held aloft the banner of equal rights for all. They helped form some of the first black trade unions, sought co-operation with the various black organisations like the African National Congress and the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU), the African People's organisation (APO) and the Indian Congress, involved themselves in the day-to-day struggle of the people against oppression.

As blacks consolidated their position in the ranks of the proletariat, so the composition of the Communist Party was altered. Whereas in 1915 the International Socialist League had been composed only of whites, 15 years later the overwhelming majority of Communist Party members were Africans, and men like J. B. Marks, Albert Nzula, Moses Kotane, Edwin Mofutsanyana, John Gomas, James La Guma, Johannes Nkosi and others were to be counted among the leaders, responsible for framing policies and implementing decisions. Today our party faithfully reflects at all levels the composition of the working class and liberation movement of our country.

Our Communist Party was always a party of militants and activists and we never had room for passengers. our Party members have been in the thick of every people's struggle since the First World War - in the ceaseless campaigns against the pass laws, the fight for higher wages and better working conditions, the fight against fascism and war, the mine workers' strikes of 1920, 1922 and 1946, the Defiance Campaign of 1952, the campaign for the Congress of the People and the adoption of the Freedom Charter, the bus boycotts, the resistance to apartheid, segregation and dispossession. The mass movement against white domination headed by the African National Congress which has assumed such vast proportions today, striking ever more effective blows against the racist enemy, extends far beyond our ranks, but we are an essential part of it, and the unique value of our contribution is recognised by friends and enemies alike. our Party members have been tried and tested in battle. Thousands of them have been arrested and jailed, many have died at the hands of the police. We have proved ourselves in action as the party of the working class.

Decade after decade we have campaigned and fought, organised and mobilised, taught and propagandised, carrying our message into every corner of the land, holding aloft the banner of Marxism-Leninism at the head of the people's army. The course we have followed has not always been smooth. We have had our setbacks and reverses; we have endured the disasters of repression and dissolution, the self-inflicted torments of sectarianism, but we have succeeded in reforming our ranks and revitalising ourselves. Rooted in the working class of South Africa whose mission will not be completed until capitalism is overthrown and replaced by people's democracy leading to a socialist society, the Party has proved itself to be a vanguard organisation in the best tradition, constantly seeking the way forward to the new South Africa outlined in its programme, steadfastly testing in action the theories formulated at our conferences. our members have shown themselves resourceful, courageous and adaptable, winning for the Party the confidence of its allies in the liberation struggle. And we have had our victories, steadily advancing the cause of the workers and the forward positions of our freedom fighters.

The principle which has guided all our efforts has been the need to build up the broadest united front of patriotic and anti-racist forces in the struggle against white domination. It was in pursuit of this aim that our Party explored the relationship between the national and class struggles in South Africa, and formulated in its 1962 programme the concept of "colonialism of a special type" which provided the theoretical basis for yoking together the forces of national liberation and working class revolution. At this, the stage of the national democratic revolution, the main component of which in the South African context is the national liberation of the African people, the main thrust of the revolutionary forces is to forge the broadest possible unity of the masses and of all strata of the people for the overthrow of the hated racist regime. In pursuance of this objective the Freedom Charter adopted at the Congress of the People in 1955 has become the immediate programme of the national liberation alliance and the short-term programme of our Party. At its augmented Central Committee meeting in 1979 the Party declared:

"Our Party is a vital component of the revolutionary alliance for national liberation headed by the African National Congress. As such it has no interests separate from any contingent of that alliance which we have always worked to strengthen. This approach does not stand in conflict with our belief that our Party has an independent role to play as a constituent part of the alliance, but also as the political vanguard of the proletariat whose special historical role as the grave-digger of capitalism and the builder of socialism we have always safeguarded. "

In the formulation of our policies, and in their implementation, we have benefitted immeasurably from the guidance and assistance of the international communist movement, and are confident that in turn, through our own work and experience, we have contributed our share to the storehouse of international revolutionary theory and strengthened the cause of proletarian internationalism. At a time when the desperation of the imperialists and the adventurism of the Chinese hegemonists threaten the world with war and nuclear destruction, it is our unshakeable belief that it is the duty of every communist party to strengthen its ties with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries and to consolidate the ranks of the international communist movement. In the words of our 1979 Central Committee resolution:

"There is no room for neutrals in the struggle to eliminate from the world the last vestiges of colonialism and racism, to win for all peoples the right to real freedom and independence, the right to live in peace and security from the cradle to the grave."

This book is not a history of the Communist Party in South Africa. our publishing house, Inkululeko Publications, has already issued a number of works interpreting our past and present roles, and new contributions appear regularly in our journal

The African Communist. What we present here is the raw material of our history - the statements, articles and speeches of leaders and members of our Party, the relevant sections of our past constitutions and programmes, the reports and resolutions of our conferences and Central Committee meetings, so that the present-day reader can see events, not with the sometimes biased or patronising wisdom of hindsight, but in the context in which our predecessors (and some of us at the time) viewed them. We do this, not with a view to passing judgment or making excuses, but to enable the reader to understand the reasoning and motives of our Party leaders and members in reaching the conclusions they did, what led them to formulate this policy or pass that resolution. Historians often err in assessing the past according to the standards and perspectives of today, without asking themselves whether the options which are open today were available at the time We hope this collection of evidence will help to explain our history. To be able to listen to our Party spokesmen stating their case at the various crisis points of the past will, we hope, deepen appreciation of their efforts and achievements, their persistence and determination. We Communists, being human, are fallible and often make mistakes, but one thing which can never be held against us is that we have failed to act in the spirit of the words of Marx inscribed on his grave:

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

We have never ceased striving to change South Africa from the hell that it is today for the majority of our people groaning under the vicious burdens of apartheid, into a free society in which class and colour discrimination and exploitation will be abolished once and for all. At all times when our people have been faced with a challenge from the enemy backed by his brutal, trigger-happy armed forces, our Party responded to the challenge with the appropriate course of action decided upon after careful analysis of the objective conditions at the time. This is what led our Party in 1961 to allocate some of our members to join with their counterparts in the African National Congress in the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, now grown into an effective liberation force striking ever more effective blows against the enemy's laager.

Looking back on our history, perhaps this can be reckoned the hallmark of our achievement - that, guided by the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, we have never ceased to organise the South African working class and lead them in the struggle for liberation. Confident in the justice of our cause, that we speak and act in the interests of the overwhelming majority of our people, we have always looked to the future with optimism..

We are convinced that the record of our work contained in this book will justify the confidence placed in us by the South African working class and inspire greater efforts from all freedom fighters in the struggle for liberation


1. From Indian Views, Durban, July 26, 1940

2. From Ibid.

3. From The Leader, Durban, March 3, 1945.

This open letter was signed by Dr. Dadoo, along with other Indian leaders in the Transvaal and Natal, before the elections to the Natal Indian Congress.

4. The N.I.C. leadership delayed the elections until it was compelled by a court judgment. In October 1945, candidates of the Anti-Segregation Council, led by Dr. G. M. Naicker, were elected at a large public meeting in Durban.

5. From The Guardian, Cape Town, October 20, 1949

6. "Dr. Dadoo bewildered by Swart's ban" in The Leader, Durban, May 23, 1952

7. From: The Clarion, July 24, 1952

8. The Star, Johannesburg, November 14, 1952; reproduced in Flash, ANC/NIC bulletin, November 21, 1952

9. In paragraph 4, the General Assembly requested Member States to take the following measures, separately or collectively:

"(a) Breaking off diplomatic relations with the Government of the Republic of South Africa or refraining from establishing such relations;

"(b) Closing their ports to all vessels flying the South African flag;

"(c) Enacting legislation prohibiting their ships from entering South African ports;

"(d) Boycotting all South African goods and refraining from exporting goods, including all arms and ammunition, to South Africa;

"(e) Refusing landing and passage facilities to all aircraft belonging to the Government of South Africa and companies registered under the laws of South Africa."

10. Sechaba, February 1967

11. From ANC Speaks, published by the African National Congress in Lusaka in 1976

12. Please see previous item.

13. At a mass meeting of the Transvaal Indian Congress in Johannesburg on June 4, 1939, armed thugs appeared and assaulted members of the Nationalist Bloc. Dr. Dadoo escaped narrowly. Dayabhai Govindji was stabbed and died four days later.


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