Eulalie Doreen Stott

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Biographical information

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Eulalie Stott

Synopsis:

Founding member of the Liberal Party, Anti-apartheid activist, President of the Black Sash and Founding member of the Women’s Movement for Peace.

First name: 
Eulalie
Last name: 
Stott
Date of birth: 
4 August 1922
Location of birth: 
Fish Hoek
Date of death: 
28 February 2010
Location of death: 
Cape Town

Eulalie Doreen Stott was born in Fish Hoek on 4 August 1922. Stott was the only child and after her parents’ divorce, when she was just three years old, she was forced to go and stay with her grandparents. Her father moved to Pretoria, her mother re-married few years later and Eulalie remained with her grandparents. From the age of six Eulalie attended boarding schools where she displayed early on, some of her leadership skills and keenness towards social responsibility.

In both junior and high school, Eulalie won awards for service and fellowship. She was greatly influenced by her school principal who was a member of the South African Institute of Race Relations. At the age of 12 she joined the Animal Welfare Society and the Penal Reform Society. They would only be the beginning of a long career in similar philanthropic organizations.

Post school, Stott got her first job at the Ministry of Defence, working at the censorship department during Second World War. After the war she went back to Cape Town and got a job as Manager of advertising and mail orders at Stuttafords, a department store. She became also an inspectress of Truworths Western Province branches. Holding these positions made build her personal and professional profile since not many women held such positions at the time. This led to her being invited to be the Founding president of the Cape Town Business and Professional Women’s club.

Eulalie married Michael Stott in 1949 and had their first child in 1952. In the 1950’s Stott began participating in the Institute of Citizenship. The organization had been started by war veterans and focused on political developments after the war. Her participation at the institute garnered her speech-making and chairing skills. It would also be the platform from which she would learn about racial discrimination. Stott attempted to spread her new found awareness on racism to her peers at the Cape Town Business and Professional Women’s club and encouraged them to open up membership to other races; however, they did not share her views. Following this disappointment, Stott withdrew from the club.

In 1953 Stott together with her fellow members at the Institute of Citizenship, became a founding member of the Liberal Party. She acted as election agent for the Liberal Party’s South Peninsula candidate during elections and later became the first honorable secretary of the Liberal Party in the Cape, a member of its Provincial Committee and of the National Committee.

Being a member of the party helped Stott to become more aware of the living conditions of Africans, and in particular, African women. In 1955 she became a founder member of the Black Sash in Cape Town and became even more politically vocal. The Black Sash then became involved in the Cape Association for the Abolishment of Passes for African Women (CATAPAW). Under Stott’s suggestion, the black sash started an advice office for Africans and a bail fund for African women in prisons. The bail fund and CATAPAW got frequent sympathetic press coverage owing to her contacts with journalists.

Stott subsequently became president of the Black Sash. She led the organization in its association with the PAC during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The affiliation with the PAC lasted until the party was banned. After completing her term as president, Stott withdrew slightly from the Black Sash and stood as an independent candidate for Cape Town’s City Council ward 14 in 1961, and was elected unopposed. She was one of the first members of the Cape Town Chamber of Municipal Affairs. As a councilor, she continued to advocate for the rights of African and Coloured communities and was instrumental in the establishment of Mitchell’s plain to provide housing for people that were displaced by the Group Areas’ Act. After 1961, Stott detached herself from the Black Sash, and in 1976 became one of the founding members of Women’s Movement for Peace, a multiracial organisation with the purpose of restoring peace following the Student Uprising.

In 1999 her husband Michael Stott passed away. Then on 28 February 2010, Stott died in Cape Town. She is survived by her two daughters Louis and Rene, five grandchildren and a great grandchild.


References:
• Black Sash, Black Sash founder and anti-apartheid activist Eulalie Stott dies at 87 [online] Available at: www.blacksash.org.za [Accessed on 8 February 2012]
• Scanlon H., 2007, Representation & Reality ,Portraits of women's lives in the Western Cape 1948 ”“ 1976,hsrc press, Cape Town  pp 133-166

Last updated : 01-Mar-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 13-Feb-2012