On Tuesday we wrote about the town of KwaDukuza, and its rich history, but the town is not only famous for its story of King Shaka, it is also home to the Luthuli Museum, in honour of Chief Albert Luthuli, the first African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Despite being born in Zimbabwe, Luthuli spent much of his life in his ancestral home in Groutville, some ten kilometres to the south of KwaDukuza, and it was here that he returned after holding a post as teacher at Adams College, to take up the role of Chief. But this government sanctioned title eventually became an issue as Luthuli’s political ideology clashed with that of the apartheid government. In 1952 Albert Luthuli was elected the President General of the ANC and together with nearly 100 others faced a government banning order. Over the course of the next 15 years Luthuli was subjected to a further three banning orders, prohibiting him from attending public gatherings and confining him to the KwaDukuza magisterial district. On the occasion of the Sharpeville massacre, which saw thousands of protestors die at the hands of the police, Luthuli publicly burnt his pass book and called on all South Africans to observe a national day of mourning.
Luthuli was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding efforts to secure political freedom in South Africa. In 1962 he was appointed honorary rector of the University of Glasgow, but was not allowed to travel to United Kingdom to attend the ceremony. In the same year, Albert Luthuli’s autobiography Let My People Go was published.
Chief Albert Luthuli led the ANC for a further five years, until his untimely death on the 21st of July 1967, when while out on a walk near his home he was reportedly struck by a train and killed. At the time of his death he was still under a banning order.
Note: SA History Online offers a detailed article on the life of Albert Luthuli. Click here to read more about one of South Africa’s most legendary struggle icons.
Image of Albert Luthuli courtesy of the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership