Albert Dlomo

Names: Dlomo, Albert

In summary: Member of the ANC and MK, political prisoner, National Chairperson MKVA and former advisor to the Minister of Defence.

Dlomo joined the African National Congress (ANC) at Chesterville in Durban just before it was banned in 1960. He then went underground and embarked on a recruitment drive for the movement. In July 1961 Dlomo married Bongekile Makhoba and they had three children together.

In 1963 Dlomo was arrested and detained under the 90 Days' Detention law. He was later charged with furthering aims of the ANC, a banned organisation but he was acquitted. Shortly after his release, the police re-detained him under the same law in 1965. This time he was charged with providing assistance to people leaving the country for military training under uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK). 

Dlomo was sentenced to four years in prison which he served on Robben Island. While he was on the Island Dlomo enrolled with the University of South Africa (UNISA). He was also one of the leaders of protest mounted by political prisoner against inhumane prison conditions. As a result, he was detained in solitary confinement on the Island and had his ‘privilege’ of studies withdrawn. He smuggled a letter out of prison through some of the prisoners who were being released to inform his wife of the difficulties he was undergoing in prison.

While Dlomo was in prison, his wife was banished and forcibly removed from Lamontville township to Umlazi. After his release in 1970, he was banished to Umlazi where he was kept under house arrest. He, together with Omar Badsha, Harold Nxasana, Griffits Mxenge and others began discussion on reviving the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). In 1972 he left the country to study Politics and Economics at the University of Exeter in Devon, in the United Kingdom. He proceeded to the University of Middlesex in London where he obtained a Masters Degree in Politics and Economics.

In 1975 Dlomo resumed working for the ANC in exile underground in Swaziland. He worked closely with Thabo MbekiHarry Gwala and Jacob Zuma in facilitating the movement of ANC guerrillas between South Africa and Swaziland. As a result of the pressure applied by South African authorities on the Swaziland government, Dlomo, Mbeki and Zuma were arrested by the Swaziland police. They were deported to Mozambique after which Dlomo was deployed in Lusaka, Zambia where he ran agricultural projects for the ANC.     

As the pace for the dismantling of Apartheid gathered pace and the ANC was unbanned, Dlomo returned to South Africa in 1992. After the 1994 elections he served as an advisor to the Minister of Defence and worked as an Ombudsman for the KwaZulu Natal Health Department. Dlomo also served in the Commissiontasked with investigating allegations of racism at Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela Medical School, and he was the KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson and Deputy National Chairperson of uMkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association (MKVA).

Dlomo died on 25 November 2001 after a short illness at the age of 66. He is survived by his wife Bongekile and three sons. 

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