Lulu Dube – Memories from Inanda, Durban


1 Family Ties
2 Father John Dube
3 Ohlange School
4 Ilanga Lase Natali Newspaper
5 Community Ties
6 Video Interview
7 Sources

Family Ties
Lulu Dube, third born child and the only surviving daughter of John Langalibalele Dube, was born in 1931 at Ohlange. The eldest was Namagugu, followed by Sobantu, and then Lulu. The youngest sibling was Sipho; all of them are now deceased. Their mother was Angeline Dube, neè Khumalo. The house where Lulu Dube lives now was built around 1922 and is the second house of Dr John Dube. Their first home was at Ohlange, where all the children were born.

Father John Dube
Her father Rev. John L Dube was the son of the first ordained pastor at Inanda, Rev. James L Dube, who was a half-brother to Chief Mqhawe. Second home of the Dube family at Ohlange He was born at Inanda Mission under the Ngcobo chieftaincy. Dube was not his real surname. His surname was Ngcobo. Dube was the name of his grandfather. When he was overseas the people there could not pronounce Ngcobo. When they heard his grandfather’s name was Dube Ngcobo, John became known as Dube because it was easy to pronounce. Over the years this was the name that stuck and it became his official name.

John Dube was an exceptionally bright child and caught the eye of the missionaries, who wanted him to get further education. He was sent to Amanzimtoti College to complete his higher education and became a teacher. Seeing his potential, the American Board then sent him to Germany for further study. His parents allowed him to go because his father (James Dube) was a priest and was happy to see his son studying to follow in his footsteps. Once in Berlin John Dube realised there was no race discrimination and no restrictions on what he could study. Thus he chose to enroll for a degree in medicine. However, when he went home after three years and told his father he is now studying medicine and not priesthood because there is no money in priesthood, his father was outraged, insisting that he drop the medical studies in exchange for religious studies. Thus he completed his religious studies in America and returned to Inanda as a qualified pastor.

Ohlange School
Mafukuzela, as he was known amongst his people (loosely translated meaning someone looking for talented children), started the school at Ohlange after his return from America. Lulu remembers that “…he was encouraged when he saw Black Americans who were then called ‘Negros’ and who were also black like his people back home, but are studying. He liked that. And said he must try it at home, like they do overseas. Because they were also oppressed like us but they are better than us. In those days, black people only reached standard six which was regarded Ohlange High School today as a good standard. Overseas, people studied further.” He said to the people “I want to educate your children.”

The school started from first year (Grade 1) up to matric. His daughter Lulu remembers “…there was an industrial school, some were doing shoemaking, sewing, there was almost everything. He was more interested in industrial subjects because he wanted people to learn to do everything by themselves and not expect charity from white people.” All the Dube children attended the school together with children from the area and some Indian children. Lulu remembers well known people like BW Vilakazi who was a teacher at Ohlange and Moerane who was a principal.

Lulu’s wish for the school is that it must go on “because he (her father) worked hard for it. He struggled but he never said he waited for a government grant/subsidy. That is our problem right now, a person does not want to say, because I know how to sweep let me do my best. People don’t want to work anymore. They expect government subsidies even in things that they can do themselves. Dube outdid himself. He learned from another world to help his struggling people.”

Ilanga Lase Natali Newspaper
In 1903 he established the Ilanga Lase Natali newspaper, which is still being published to this day. The newspaper was printed at Ohlange School and the school children had an opportunity of learning all aspects of the printing business. From the school the newspaper would be to different depots to be sold.

Community Ties
Dube had close ties with many prominent people of that era, among them King Solomon, Prince Mshiyeni, Mr Isaiah Shembe, founder of the Shembe Church. Lulu Dube tells that Shembe (Isaiah) was one of her father’s best friends and used to be involved in many meetings with him and other community leaders. She also remembers Mr Ngazani Luthuli, one time editor of the Ilanga newspaper. “He had an office here at the house and I knew him well. Mr AWG Champion [also] used to come to the house to talk to Mafukuzela.

Of the “Daughters of Africa” Organisation, of which her mother Angeline was President, Lulu remembers that they helped to ensure children not to wander the streets. “What I can remember, is that when the school closed, the Durban branch [of the organisation] would accompany children to the train stations and on each station there would be others waiting to escort the children. The organisation was all over the world. They made sure that children were safe on their way home nothing like what is happening today. They also focused on Domestic Science things that mostly helped women. They said girls are growing up. When they get married they know nothing about being good wives. They taught them things like, how to lay a table, sewing, playing tennis etc.’

Video Interview

Personal Interview with Lulu Dube
Wood, Agnes. 1972. Shine where you are: a History of Inanda Seminary 1869-1969.

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