Teacher, Secretary of the Aliwal North branch of the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU), member of the CPSA and the ANC, ran the Federation of Non-European Trade Unions,writer on the The Negro Worker.
Albert Nzula was born in Rouxville, in the Orange Free State in 1905. He received his formal education at Bensonvale in Herschel and at Lovedale, where he qualified as a teacher. For a time he lived at Aliwal North, where he taught, worked as a court interpreter, and served as secretary of the local branch of the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU). He then moved to Evaton, where he taught at Wilberforce and came into contact with the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), which he joined in August 1928.
His striking ability as a speaker and writer were quickly recognised, and he formed a strong loyalty to Douglas Wolton, then party secretary, who decided in 1929 that Nzula should assume the secretaryship as part of a wider effort to Africanise the CPSA. Later that year Nzula also became joint secretary, with Edward Roux, of the short-lived League of African Rights, a Communist initiated organisation aimed in part at eclipsing the more conservative African National Congress (ANC). As a member of the ANC, Nzula supported the abortive efforts of J. T. Gumede to put the organisation on a more radical course.
Alcoholism undermined Nzula's capacities as a leader, and in 1930 he was shifted from the CPSA secretaryship to run the Federation of Non-European Trade Unions. Shortly thereafter he left South Africa to study at the Lenin School in Moscow, remaining to work for the Communist International as a writer on the organ The Negro Worker. He died in hospital in Moscow on 17 January 1934 of pneumonia.
• Gerhart G.M and Karis T. (ed)(1977). From Protest to challenge: A documentary History of African Politics in South Africa: 1882-1964, Vol.4 Political Profiles 1882 ”“ 1964. Hoover Institution Pres: Stanford University.
• Albert Nzula [Online]. Available at: sacp.org.za [accessed 09 April 2010]
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