Albert Luthuli

by Lisa, Leila, and Jacy of North Eugene High School

Albert Luthuli was a very active person in the fight against Apartheid. Apartheid, meaning “separateness,” was a system of legal segregation enforced by the National Party government in South Africa between the years 1948 and 1994. Albert Luthuli’s education, beliefs and achievements led him to realize just how badly the South Africans were being treated by the oppressing whites. He eventually joined the ANC (African National Congress) in 1945, to try and contribute to the fight against the government in an effort for the coloured, Indian, and black South Africans to gain their citizenship back. Soon after, in 1952 to 1967, he was elected as the president of the ANC. A few years before that, Albert had also joined the Natives Representative Council, which was an advisory basis for the government that would help them decide what to do with the natives in South Africa, in 1946. Also, in 1952, Albert was considered one the of the “leading lights” in the Defiance Campaign, which was a non-violent protest against pass laws. He did not like violence or any brutal protests, and rejected ideas that involved any of it. Which is why, in 1960, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Albert Luthuli was a very nonviolent leader in Apartheid and his accomplishments reflect that.

In the 1940's was when Apartheid really hit South Africa, for the National Party wanted to take control of the social system and the economy. In the beginning, Apartheid was to keep the white race dominate and to keep the other races separated. In the 60's, the start of a new plan called "Grand Apartheid" took action. When it was put into action it made borders and territories very conspicuously separated and heavily guarded by the police. When the laws of apartheid were in full effect in 1948, racial discrimination was at its highest. The new racial laws touched every aspect of everyone’s social lives, for there were now laws prohibiting whites and people of color to get married. Then in the 1950's the Population Registration Act was passed and it required that all South Africans must be put into categories of either white, black, or colors of mixed races. South Africans would be put into these categories based upon their appearance, social acceptance, and their descent. The Department of Home Affairs was in charge of classifying people, yet if people refused to comply with these laws they were dealt with in a brutal way. When you were categorized you were then given a "passbook" that only other races besides whites were required to have with them at all times. Therefore Africans living in their homelands were now aliens in their own country. Albert Luthuli, as well as many other leaders in the fight against Apartheid, was strongly against such discrimination. He believed that everyone should live in peace and nonviolence, and that the oppressed blacks and people of color should be able to live freely as the whites.

Albert's full name is Albert Jon Mvumbi Luthuli. Albert Luthuli lived a very full life. He was born in 1898 in Bulaway, Rhodesia, and he was born into a religious family, being the son of a Seventh Day Adventist missionary. He started college at Adam's college in 1920. Mr. Luthuli was very religious and became a preacher, and his Christian beliefs affected the way he thought about how to approach the system of Apartheid. As said before, Albert was the president of the ANC in 1951. He was also the leader of a campaign for ten million blacks for non-violent protest against the pass laws. He quoted, "I have joined my people in the new spirit that moves them today, the spirit that revolts openly and broadly against injustice." He was the first winner of the Nobel Peace Prize from Africa. He was a very celebrated leader of Apartheid, and he was still the president-general of the ANC- even though his health was failing with age. On July 21, 1967, when taking a walk, he was hit by a train by his home and died. While it was viewed as an accident, many of his followers believed that someone had pushed him in front of it. Even though that tragic event had taken its toll of Luthuli’s followers and inspired people, his accomplishments live on and continue to keep come of the peace created in Africa.

Page created on 9/10/2011 11:21:16 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 9:53:31 PM