Richard Albert David Turner: a brief chronology

 

1941

Born in Cape Town of British parents

c. 1947-58

At school in Cape Town

1953

Father dies

1958

Matriculates from St George’s grammar school

1959

Registers for BSc Engineering at University of Cape Town

1960

Changes to philosophy

1960

Sharpeville – black mass movement curtailed and white opposition groups shown to be ineffectual

1963

BSc (Hons) – Philosophy, University of Cape Town

1963

Becomes involved in NUSAS (National Union of South African Students)

1964

First marriage, to Barbara Hubbard

1964

Begins studying for a doctorate on Jean-Paul Sartre at the University of Paris under Professor Jean Wahl

1964-1966

Travels in Italy, Yugoslavia, Austria, Belgium and Britain

1966

Completes doctorate and returns to South Africa with his family

1967

Farms at his mother’s farm, Welcarmes, in Stellenbosch

1969

Teaches for six months as a temporary lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch

1969

Teaches for six months as a temporary lecturer at Rhodes University

1970

Makes contact with Black Consciousness leaders, among whom is Steve Biko

1970

Appointed as lecturer in Political Science at the University of Natal

1970

End of first marriage: second marriage to Foszia Fisher, a ‘Coloured’ student, by Moslem rites

1971

Research programme on working conditions in industrial plants

1971

Workers’ Education Project

1971

Started   South African Labour Bulletin

1971-72

Involvement with SPRO-CAS  (Stidy Project on Christianity in an Apartheid Society) begins

1972

Publication of SPRO-CAS Economics Commission report (he is a member of the Commission)

1972

First publication of The Eye of the Needle

1972

NUSAS National Seminar and National Leadership Training Seminar

1972

Initiates Education Reform Association to get going a discussion on education

1972

Commission of Enquiry into Certain Organisations (NUSAS, University Christian Movement, Christian Institute, South African Institute of Race Relations), i.e. the Schlebusch Commission, begins its investigations, and calls him to give evidence as political adviser to NUSAS (although he is involved in projects with all these institutions)

1973

Publication of SPRO-CAS Politics Commission Report (he is a member of the Commission)

1973, February

 With 7 NUSAS leaders, he is given a restriction order (a “banning” order), which prevents him for the period of 5 years from attending gatherings, leaving Durban, and also from entering factories, trade union premises, or the University of Natal, and from publishing or preparing for publication any material whatever (he is not allowed to teach, but the University keeps him on the payroll anyway)

1973

Durban strikes

1976

Expert witness for the defence in the trial of 9 Black Consciousness leaders under the Terrorism Act

1976

Soweto riots

8 January 1978

His wife Foszia visits Botswana, and is searched and harassed at the border; meanwhile, at midnight, an unknown gunman knocks at his front door, and wounds him fatally when he comes to the window to see who it is.  Turner dies in the presence of both his daughters

Compiled by C E Dubbeld, October 1996