Gana Makabeni

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Biographical information

Synopsis:

Trade unionist, ANC Treasurer-General, member of the SACP

First name: 
Gana
Last name: 
Makabeni
Location of birth: 
Transkei, Eastern Cape
Date of death: 
1955

Gana Makabeni  was born in the Transkei.  He attended a Communist night school and joined the Communist Party of South Africa (SACP) as a young worker in the 1920s. In 1926 he was elected to the party's central committee, becoming one of its first African members; in 1932, however, he was expelled from the party for protesting the treatment of S. P. Bunting. Makabeni was one of the most prominent early African trade unionists to take an active part in the African National Congress (ANC). Using as a nucleus the African Clothing Workers' Union, of which he was secretary from 1928 to 1955, he led successive efforts to organise African unions, independent of white or Communist leadership. In 1942 he helped found the Council of Non-European Trade Unions, but the organisation was soon beset by internal conflicts, and in 1945 J. B. Marks replaced Makabeni as president. When the CPSA was outlawed in 1950, Makabeni again gained control of the federation in the Transvaal; dissension continued, however, and the organization split up in 1953. A member of the ANC national executive committee in the 1940s, Makabeni served as acting ANC treasurer-general in 1948 - 1949. He died in 1955


References:
• 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.

Last updated : 22-Sep-2016

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

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