Albert Luthuli

by Chris, Cory, Jake of North Eugene High School

Albert Luthuli (
Albert Luthuli (

During the years between 1948 to 1993 in South Africa, black Africans were segregated from their homes, forced to live with different tribes and practically used as slaves for the whites just so they could have enough money to keep themselves and their families going. Whites controlled everything from education to even how they lived, just by use of a few laws that changed the lives of thousands, and this was Apartheid.

With the election of an Afrikaner Party legislate, the before rules already in place that formally limited blacks of such rights as skilled trades or land ownership out side of reserves were steadily reinforced. These new laws divided the people into 13 different racial groups with Whites, Afrikaners, Indians, and blacks being the main ones with blacks separated into a further 10 groups compensating to tribes. Blacks could only live in certain areas designated to them outside of reserves, which were far worse; while whites had full reign over them and gained rich due to the cheap labor they allowed the blacks to work.

Because of the low paying jobs and horrid living conditions they lived in, not many could afford to go to school. Without an education the amount of jobs they could get was dwindled down further because whites needed people who could read as well as right, so the ones who did not go to school often worked as laborers. More importantly than a job was what was called a “passbook”, it was a tiny black book which allowed them to work if they had the proper permits or even to live where they are. Without these books, blacks could be jailed or even sent back to a reserve. Most people did not keep the passbooks up to date due to their lack of money and quite often bribed guards or business owners to work and not get in trouble for risk of deportation.

This era in South Africa was a cruel time for Black Africans who had virtually no rights and suffered great tragedies trying to change the way of life for themselves. This was Apartheid.

Segregation during Apartheid (
Segregation during Apartheid (

Albert Luthuli, a Nobel prize holder, was the great idol who led 10 million South Africans on a civil rights non-violent campaign to fight Apartheid. He was born in 1898, and died on June 21st 1967 when he was hit by a train while crossing a trestle. His grandfather was a Chief of a small tribe in Groutville, of a small reservation which he eventually lived for 17 years. He was born with leadership in his blood and the urge to find peace for his people, along with the world around him. He as a very humble man that was absolutely intolerant of violence and encouraged non violence wherever he traveled. His mother was a very respected woman who spent part of her childhood in King Cetawayo’s residence.

Albert Luthuli became the president of the ANC (African National Congress), and was later recognized as a Nobel prize winner because of his enormous efforts as a non-violent anti-apartheid civil rights leader. After his election as ANC president, he was banned from holding meetings by the government. After this two year ban expired, he went to Johannesburg, only to find another two year ban. These bans continued for short periods at a time, but after each ended a new one usually was created to constrict him even more. Even though he was confined to talk about Apartheid, he grew great renown and eventually wrote a biography about himself.

In 1936 Albert Luthuli became the Tribal leader of his tribe of around five thousand people, while giving up his well paid teaching job that he spent years of his life of school to achieve. He held this position for seventeen years, only by being removed by the government in 1952. As the laws of the whites kept getting stricter and the blacks becoming more apart from equality, Albert became worried for his people and eventually the whole of blacks throughout South Africa.

In 1944 he joined the ANC (African National Congress) to protest for the repulsion of these Apartheid laws and to regain the rights of blacks. Only a year after he joined he was elected to the committee of the of the ANC and in 1951 was elected the president of the organization, all the while fighting hard and true for the right of all the people of South Africa.

For the last 20 years of his life he had been under restrictions or some sort of ban for over a total of 16 years and had even, though confined, been a symbol to thousands of people looking for equal rights. He had published an autobiography, though banned, which circled the globe and even became a picture for human rights petitions by the UN. Finally in 1961 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight for human rights against Apartheid.

Albert Luthuli was a ray of hope to people of South Africa in his fight against Apartheid. He had accomplished great things through his fulfilling life and had inspired many to finish the fight which finally ended in 1993. He, was a great man and we only wish that we could have been there to have seen his brilliance.

"Albert Lutuli - Biography". 7 Mar 2011

"The History of Apartheid in South Africa." Standford Computer Science. n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2011. (

"Albert John Luthuli." thefamouspeople. n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. (

Page created on 9/10/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 11:39:09 PM

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