Remembering Chief Albert Luthuli

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Makhosi Mngoma

Friday 21st July 2017, was the fiftieth anniversary of the mysterious death of Chief Albert Luthuli, chief of Abasemakholweni, President-General of the African National Congress, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Isithwalandwe-Seaparankwe. He was a unique man who many believe was an embodiment of the diversity of our country.

Chief Albert Luthuli lived close to the reality of the poverty that faced hhis people.
As the Chief, he always ensured a fair and just approach to persons found doing wrong. Chief Luthuli did not believe in fining wrong doers because he understood the socio-economic circumstances his people were faced with. He believed there were other means to discipline his people other than making them pay. His sense of justice was fair to all.

Occupying a religious post, Luthuli understood that not everyone belonged to the Christian faith in this community and his council consisted of both Christians and non-Christians. He respected all of them and treated them equally;
Chief among his concerns was what could be done to enhance the socio-economic conditions of those trapped in grinding poverty. As a farmer he helped form the Natal and Zululand Sugarcane Association and later became its chairperson;

Chief Albert Luthuli was prepared to sacrifice for the freedom of his people. When he joined the ANC and later became its president for natal and later President-general, he participated in the Defiance Campaign of 1952, became part of the Treason Trial of 1956  and led the anti-pass protest post the March 21, 1960 Sharpeville Massacre. These and other activities, brought him up against the apartheid regime. He was made to choose between being the chief who would respect the authority of the apartheid rules or to continue with the ANC activities, he chose the route of liberation.

It is this commitment to the cause of freedom that made him the first African and first individual outside of Europe and Americas to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. By force of example chief Luthuli inspired millions in our country and across the globe to join hands with the poor, voiceless and disenfranchised in the struggle for freedom.

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