Frederick John Harris

sahoboss's picture
Posted by sahoboss on

Biographical information

Synopsis:

Teacher, a member of the executive committee of the Liberal Party in the Transvaal, as well as a chairman of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee. 

First name: 
Frederick
Last name: 
Harris
Date of birth: 
04-July-1937
Date of death: 
01-April-1965
Location of death: 
Pretoria,South Africa

Frederick John Harris was born in 4th of July in 1937. He was a teacher, a member of the executive committee of the Liberal Party in 1962 in the Transvaal, as well as a chairman of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee. He was also one of the members of the nearly all-white African Resistance Movement (ARM) and the first and only white man to be hanged for a politically inspired offence in the years after the 1960 Sharpeville emergency. He was banned in February 1964, a few months before police moved to smash the underground ARM. While maintaining his Liberal Party connection, he had joined ARM, but he was not arrested in the police swoops.Harris was an outstanding student and completed a first degree at the University of the Witwatersrand before enrolling at Oxford in 1960.He also became involved in the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SANROC) started by Dennis Brutus.

On July 24, 1964, he planted a bomb in the Johannesburg railway station in the hope this demonstration of defiance might spark opposition to the government. A telephone warning was too late to prevent the explosion, which killed one old woman and injured a dozen others, and produced a horrified reaction amongst the white population.Harris was caught and on April 1st of 1965 went to the gallows, reportedly singing.He left Britain a year later for a combination of financial and persona reasons:South Afica was on the boil and he wanted to be part of the anti-apartheid struggle.He was forced to resign from the Liberal Party and from SANROC when he was issued a banning order in Februay 1964.


References:
• Lewin, H. (1974) Bandiet: Seven Years in a South African Prison, p.37
• Karis, T.G. & Gerhart, G.M. (1997).
•  Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) http://www.jacana.co.za/component/virtuemart/?keyword=from+protest+to+ch... (last accessed 14 January 2019)

Last updated : 14-Jan-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

Support South African History Online

Dear friends of SAHO

South African History Online (SAHO) needs your support.

SAHO is one of the most visited websites in South Africa with over 6 million unique users a year. Our goal is to fulfill our mandate and continue to build, and make accessible, a new people’s history of South Africa and Africa.

Please help us deliver this by contributing upwards of $1.00 a month for the next 12 months.



Make a donation here and send us a message of support.