Josiah Gumede, 4th President of the ANC

As part of the Durban ANC centenary celebrations an exhibition of the life and times of Josiah Gumede opened on Thursday, 19 April at the KwaMuhle Museum in Bram Fischer Road, Durban. Gumede was honoured for the role he played in the struggle for political and socio-economic freedom for all in South Africa. The occasion saw members of the Gumede family sharing personal memories of their grandfather and his philosophy of equality of all races, with the audience. The keynote address of Mr Thembinkosi Ngcobo focused on Gumede’s political career, after which the exhibition was officially opened by the Speaker of the eThekwini Council, Mr Logie Naidoo.

Josiah Tshangana Gumede, born 9 October 1867 in the village of Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape first came to Natal in 1884 when he accepted a teaching post at Adams College, Umbumbulu. There he befriended a colleague, Saul Msane. In 1899 Gumede and Msane met Hariette Colenso to discuss the formation of an African political organisation and in 1900 together with Martin Luthuli and Saul Msane he became cofounder of the Natal Native Congress and was for several years its general secretary. In 1906 Gumede he was part of a delegation to Britain over the land laws of the Orange Free State and in 1919 he again went to London with the ANC delegation to petition the British Government. In 1921 Gumede met with delegates from the National Congress of British West Africa, and back in South Africa in 1924 he is elected as new president of the Natal Native Congress (NNC). In July 1927 Gumede is elected as the 4th President-General of the African National Congress (ANC), a position that he held until 1930.

In 1933 Gumede involves himself in activities of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) and in 1935 attends the All Africa Conference (ACC). He is honoured as Life President of the ANC at the annual meeting of the ANC in Bloemfontein in December 1945 and dies on 6 November 1946.

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