By Sainey Faye
A GREAT FREEDOM FIGHTER —ALBERT LUTHULI, ANC PRESIDENT BECOMES THE FIRST AFRICAN NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER.
“I have joined my people in the new spirit that moves them today, the
spirit that revolts openly and broadly against injustice.”
………..Albert Luthuli, ANC
WHO WAS ALBERT LUTHULI?
Many probably, don’t know of the elder ANC Freedom Fighter from whom many learned the ropes along the way; in their struggle to dismantle Apartheid. Mandela would probably not be a household name in South Africa and around the world, had it not been for the persistence of his comrades to fight for the release of the political prisoners held by the Apartheid system. Chief Albert Luthuli along with Oliver Tambo who were later released after being arrested with Mandela and Walter Sisulu in the famous treason trial, that sent Mandela and Walter Sisulu to life in prison; intensified the struggle for their release and others.
Albert Luthuli, also known as Chief Albert Luthuli ( a tribal chief ) was one who sacrificed his chieftancy for his membership in ANC; when threatened by the authorities; because of his involvement with the ANC. He was fired and removed from the chieftaincy in November of 1952, and then a month later in December 1952 he was elected President-General of the African National
Congress (ANC). This post he held until his death in July 21, 1967. In 1960 he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize which he couldn’t get until 1961; due to the Apartheid’s wicked, hateful policies.The first African to win the Nobel price.
He was born in Zimbabwe, which was then called Southern Rhodesia (after the criminal Cecil Rhodes); near present day Bulawayo, but later moved to South Africa, his ancestral homeland.The apartheid authorities used all kind of tricks and techniques to sway him away from the ANC’s activities and struggles for freedom and equality.He was thus elected three times as the President-General of the ANC – 1952, 1955, 1958.The movement climaxed in 1956 and 1961.
The ANC’s Freedom Charter was a catalyst, which highlighted the aims and objects, and the aspirations of Africans and others to demand certain liberties and rights accorded others.On December 5, 1956; he was arrested along with hundreds of people, including the entire executive leadership of the ANC,PAC, and many others.He along with many were released, but Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and many in PAC were arrested and charged with treason.By then in Apartheid South Africa; treason = death; or life in prison in Robben Island.Both the ANC and the PAC, headed by Mangaliso Sobukwe were banned.The PAC (PanAfrican Congress Of Azania ) broke away from the ANC, and became a Liberation movement of its own.
In summary, Albert Luthuli even though his travels were limited; he kept a life line with the rest of his comrades, especially Mandela and Sisulu who were serving life sentences,.The Sharpeville massacre of 1961 helped open the secrets of this monster due to the atrocities that were committed on innocent civilians, children, women etc.The 1964 Treason trial that sent his comrades —known as the Rivonia Trial, Mandela, Sisulu and others, helped solidify the military wing “UMKHONTO WE SIZWE” (Spear Of The Nation) in 1961) into a fighting force or better yet a Liberation army.
Ghana, under Dr.Nkrumah was foremost amongst the African states to set up training centers and educational and humanitarian assistance.The popular and well known “Voice Of Africa” magazine highted the issues clearly; and Pan-Africanist forums and serious revolutionary intellectuals and many other progressives got engaged.Many who were either in High School or in their teens; could recall radio programs emanating from Ghana’s African News Program nightly.The plight of our brothers fighting racism and also colonialism, settler colonialism, and Apartheid were clearly on the agenda, in the print media and on radio.Ghana trained many to become fighters, engineers, educators, doctors, and gave them nationality and passports to travel to various parts of the world – both West and East for education and/or training.Many today, in top positions in the government are products of Ghana.
Albert Luthuli’s death, created so much skepticism among all freedom loving people, especially Africans at home and the diaspora. Reports that came from South Africa, indicated he was struck and killed by a train near his home in Natal. Few would belief that story, yet they are still continually
perpetuating that myth.One thing we know for sure, he was one great fighter for freedom and Azania/South Africa; would not be where it is today without the immense sacrifices he made.Walter Sisulu, Mangaliso Sobukwe, Madiba, and the younger generation like Thabo Mbeki, Chris Hani, and
Jacob Zuma all owe him gratitude for standing on his shoulders to reach greater heights for the liberation of South Africa — and a free, liberated, and United Africa.
Sadly enough, South Africa has degenerated to a level recently; so low that the whole world is wondering, whether this is the country that Nelson bid farewell – – just yesterday. The last of Africa’s orphan nation states, this land that Africans shed blood and tears, to bring about freedom,liberty, and justice; and buried “Apartheid’ once and for all; has at last turned on his own family, that reared and nurtured her from infancy to adulthood. Her scattered suffering children were taken care of from the 1960’s armed struggle, to the 1990’s when Mandela became President; by countries like Gambia, Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, and the last three Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique; committed their troops to train and fight physically with the ANC/PAC.
ZIPRA and ZANLA were gallant fighters along with Angola’s MPLA, and Namibia’s SWAPO; who closed ranks in the battle field on all fronts for the final show down of African military victory.This victories help force the enemy to negotiate with frontline states.Samora Machel’s FRELIMO liberation fighters refused to give in, along with Zimbabwe’s liberation army until the apartheid army recapitulated — and they did.
South Africa must educate its people who lost track of how they came to be a so called country, and what it took African people to bury the monster; and help her come alive on the motherland -Africa.But she must first relearn her history, and African history as a whole in order to stop the attacks on Africans from other states who help her become what she is today.She must get off the band wagon of historical amnesia, and know that Africa is for Africans; and Africans will go and live and visit and work, in any part of their motherland – Africa. No force on earth can stop them.