Josiah Tshangana Gumede

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Josiah Tshangane Gumede

Josiah Tshangane Gumede Timeline 1867-1946

9 October, Josiah Tshangane Gumede is born in Healdtown Village, Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape.
Gumede attends the “Kaffirs Institute” in Grahamstown after completing his schooling.
Gumede accepts a teaching post at the Adams College in Amanzimtoti.
Cetshwayo dies. The British High Commissioner in South Africa Garnet Wolseley takes advantage of this by dividing Zululand into 13 independent chieftainships, each ruled by chiefs he appointed.
Bishop John William Colenso dies. Colenso was applauded by Gumede for being sympathetic to the plight of African people in Natal.
9 May, Transvaal Boers are prohibited from leaving their districts for Zululand
June, Dinizulu defeats Zibhebhu.
Gumede aligns himself to the Funamalungelo (demand civil rights) Society.
Virginia Jubilee Singers, an American troupe, visits the Adams College and inspires Gumede and Saul Msane to start the Zulu Choir at the college.
May, Gumede tours Britain with the “Zulu choir”
6 October, The Zulu Choir splits up and ceases to exist.
30 June, Josiah Gumede marries Margareth Sithole a teacher by profession and a devoted Wesleyan who comes from the Bergville district.
Gumede is employed by Chief Ncwadi as an induna.
Edith Beatrice the first daughter of Gumede and Margareth is born.
Tabita Sarah, the second daughter is born.
October, Gumede becomes one of the first Blacks to be recruited and trained by the Natal Intelligence Department just before the outbreak of the South African War started.
8 June, Natal Native Congress (NCC) is inaugurated with John Dube, Saul Msane, Josiah Gumede, Stephen Mini and Mark Radebe as founder members.
Gumede joins the British military to fight against the Boers.
Gumede becomes a land agent with the firm Thackeray Allison and Albert Hime Solicitors and works for the company for next 14 years.
August, Gumede takes his children Edith and Sarah to the Eastern Cape to avoid his children suffering from the malpractices of Native Law in Natal.
Gumede lays claims to the territory of the Orange Free State on behalf of the Sotho Chiefs.
13 May, Gumede is arrested and charged for leaving the Colony of Natal without a pass.
16, May, Mr Pickersgill asks the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in the House of Commons whether he has official information of the arrest of Josiah Gumede and what charges he is facing.
Iliso Lesizwe esimnyama (Eye of the Black Nation) an organization composed of Wesleyan Methodist converts and chiefs is formed. Gumede becomes become part of the organisation.
25 June, The Native High Court allows the appeal of Gumede to proceed and sets aside the judgment and sentence of the magistrate who convicted him of leaving the colony without a pass.
Gumede serves as Secretary of Iliso lesizwe Esimnyama.
The Draft constitution and draft South Africa Act of the South African Union is published.
Gumede rejoins the Natal Native Congress (NNC) in Pietermaritzburg.
12 January, The South African Native National Congress (SANNC) is formed in Bloemfontein.
Dinizulu ka Cetshwayo king of the Zulu Nation dies.
Gumede represents SANNC in presenting grievances to the Inspector of African Schools in Pietermaritzburg.
Gumede is a member of SANNC delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference.
July, Gumede and Solomon Plaatjie present their grievances to members of the House of Commons, in England.
25 August, Gumede drafts a personal letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson and requests an audience with him to put the case of issues affecting Africans.
September, Gumede attends the International Brotherhood Conference in England.
November, Gumede and Plaaitjie meet with British Prime Minister Lloyd George and present grievances of African people.
Gumede meets with delegates from the National Congress of British West Africa.
The SANNC is renamed the African National Congress (ANC).
Gumede elected as new president of Natal Native Congress (NNC).
22 December, An annual meeting of NCC held in Durban to discuss Hertzog’s segregation Bills.
12 January, Gumede departs for the conference in Brussels.
17 February, Gumede visits Berlin in Germany
July, Gumede elected as President –General of the African National Congress (ANC).
10-12 November, attends the World congress of the “Friends of the Soviet Union”.
Elected as chairperson of the South African branch of the League Against Imperialism.
Gumede buys the newspaper Abantu/Batho on behalf of the ANC.
At the annual ANC conference Gumede is succeeded by Pixely ka Seme.
March, Gumede gives evidence before the Native Economic Commission.
Gumede is elected President of the Natal African Congress (NAC).
Gumede is involved in activities of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU).
December, Gumede attends the All African Convention (AAC).
Gumede unsuccessfully attempts to secure nomination to the Native Representative Council (NRC).
December, Gumede is honoured as Life President of the ANC at the annual meeting of the ANC in Bloemfontein.
6 November, Gumede passes away.

• Shula. M, (1978). ‘Natal, the Zulu royal family and the ideology of segregation’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol  4, No. 2, pp.172-194.
• Cope, N, (1990). ‘The Zulu petit bourgeoisie and Zulu nationalism in the 1920s : origins of Inkatha’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol  16, No. 3, pp.431-451.
• Johanningsmeier, E, (2004). ‘Communists and Black freedom movements in South Africa and the US : 1919-1950’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol 30, No. 1, pp.155-180.
• Gish, S, (2003). A life of Josiah Gumede, from H-Net, June 2003[online]. Available at[Accessed February 2012]
• van Diemel, R, (2001). ‘In search of freedom, fair play and justice : Josiah Tshangana Gumede, 1867-1947 : a biography. Belhar: Raymond van Diemel, 198 p.
• Landau, P.S, (2010). Popular politics in the history of South Africa, 1400-1948, Cambridge University Press, p.285 .
• Gumede, J T, (1927), Speech of JT Gumede, President of the African National Congress, at the International Congress Against Imperialismon 10 February 1927, from the African National Congress, February [online], Available at[Accessed February 2012]
• Mthethwa, N, (2012). Analysis : Gumede and the  co., from the New Age, 30 January, [online]. Available at[Accessed February 2012]

Last updated : 04-May-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Feb-2012