Liberation Struggle in South Africa

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Passive Resistance March in 1913, lead by MK Gandhi. (Scan of a photocopy ©) Passive Resistance March in 1913, lead by MK Gandhi.

Liberation history Timeline 1910-1919

This period was characterized by the formation of the South African Union which disenfranchised Coloureds, Indians and Africans - this led to protests by Mahatma Ghandi through a passive resistance campaign that started in 1911 and intensified for a greater part of the period.

Also significant in this period was the formation of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) in 1912 and the passing of the Land Act in 1913.

Furthermore, there was a growth of working class consciousness amongst Africans as evidenced by the formation of the Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union (ICU) - the ICU eclipses the SANNC in prominence and dominates the political landscape.

1910
The Public Servants Superannuating Act, the Teachers Pensions Act and the Immigrants Regulation Act of the Union of South Africa are passed. The latter act was directed at restricting Indians arriving in SA.
26 February, M.K. Gandhi supports the African People's Organisation's resolution to declare the day of arrival of the Prince of Wales in South Africa as a Day of Mourning. This is in protest against the South Africa Act's disenfranchisement of Indians, Coloureds and Africans in the upcoming Union of South Africa.
Solomon (Sol) Plaatje becomes the editor of Tsala ea Bechuana (‘Friend of the Bechuana’), a self-styled “independent race newspaper” (Limb, 2010: 141).
Sidney Percival Bunting enters politics by joining the South African Labour Party.
Hermann Kallenbach a prosperous architect in Johannesburg gives Tolstoy Farm at Lawley for use of Satyagrahi families. He founded a communal farm named "Tolstoy" to help support a few members of his Satyagrahi movement led by  Mahatma Ghandi.
31 May, South Africa becomes a Union with General Louis Botha as the first Prime Minister.
Dr. Walter Rubusana and Dr. Abdullah Abdurahman are elected to Cape Provincial Council.
9 July, Govan Mbeki is born. Govan Mbeki was the youngest child of a headman, Skelewu of the amaZizi of Mpukane and Johanna, the daughter of a Healdtown minister, the Reverend Abram Mabula.
1911
The Union parliament enacts laws that widen “the racial divide”. This includes the Black Labour Regulation Act which “”¦made it an offence to break an employment contract”¦” and the Mines and Works Act, which establishes the “Colour Bar” in employment. This act effectively “”¦consolidated job reservation for Whites, confirming the status of Blacks as cheap labour by putting a range of skilled jobs beyond their reach on the basis of ‘competency’.” (Morris: 2004)
Olive Schreiner's book, the polemical Women and Labour is published.
Lillian Ngoyi, future leader of the ANC’s Women’s League and president of Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) is born in Pretoria.
3 January, The Government of India announces in the Viceroy's Council that indenture to Natal is prohibited with effect from 1 July.
29 January, Abdoolla Hajee Adam, founder-president of the Natal Indian Congress, dies.
13 March, The Colonial-Born and Settlers Indian Association is formed at a meeting in Durban. The aim of the association is to fight the infamous £3 poll tax.
27 April, Indian passive resistance is suspended when General J.C. Smuts enters into negotiations with M.K Gandhi.
July, The Universal Races Congress is held at the University of London. J.T Jabavu and Walter Rubusana are present.
24 October, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, future co-founder of the SANNC, proposes a "Native Union", in an article published on Imvo Zabantsundu (Opinions/views of black people)
November, The South African Party (SAP), under the leadership of General Louis Botha, is formed in Bloemfontein by the joining together of three White political groups, namely the South African Party of the Cape Province (formerly the Afrikaner Bond), The Orangia Unie of the Orange Free State and the Het Volk group from the Transvaal.
1912
William H. Andrews is elected to the South Africa parliament as a Labour Party member.
8 January, The South African Native National Convention - later renamed the African National Congress - is formed at the Wesleyan School, Waaihoek in Bloemfontein. The SANNC declares that its aim is to bring all Africans together as one people, to defend their rights and freedoms.
The first executive of the SANNC is:
President: Rev. John L. Dube
Vice-Presidents: Rev Walter Rubusana and Messrs. Meshach Pelem, Sam Makgatho and Alfred Mangena
Treasurer: Pixely ka Izaka Seme
Secretary: Sol Plaatje
Speaker: Thomas Mapikela
Recording Secretary: George Montsioa
Chaplain-in-Chief: Rev. Mqoboli
At the conference it is also decided to establish Abantu-Batho (‘The People’), a multi-lingual (English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho) weekly newspaper.
23 February, The Natal Native Congress (NNC) agrees to affiliate itself with the SANNC at a meeting in Durban. A decision is also taken to harmonise their constitution with that of the SANNC.
March, The Cape Peninsula Native Association launches their campaign against the proposed Squatters Bill. The newspaper article reporting this can be read here.
2 April, South African Races Congress is formed under the leadership of J.T. Jabavu. For the inaugural address click here.
18 May, Future founding member of the ANC Youth League and prominent ANC political activist, Walter Ulyate Max Sisulu, is born in Engcobo District, Transkei.
14 October, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, at the invitation of M.K. Gandhi, arrives in South Africa on a 26-day tour.
General J.B.M. Hertzog, as Minister of Justice and Native Affairs, gives a speech at Smithfield, a farm outside the Orange Free State, criticising Prime Minister Louis Botha’s policies which he considers pro-British.
22 October, Gopal Krishna Gokhale president of the Indian National Congress in India meets Prime Minister General Louis Botha, General J. C. Smuts (then Minister of Finance, Defence and Mines) and Abraham Fischer (Minister of the Interior.) Gokhale negotiates with the Union Government on behalf of South African Indians, and obtains promises that are not kept. He also visits Gandhi’s Tolstoy Farm.
14 December, Prime Minister Louis Botha resigns from his post due to General J.B.M Hertzog’s speech. However, on the request of the governer-general, Lord Gladstone, Botha reforms the government and leaves General J.B.M Hertzog out of the new cabinet. This is the beginning of tensions which eventually result in a split in the SAP.
1913
A strike of 9000 African miners takes place at Jagersfontein Diamond mine, after a fellow-worker is kicked to death by a White overseer. White employees attack the strikers and eleven African mineworkers are killed and 37 injured.
Trade unionist and political activist Clements Kadalie graduates from Livingstonia, Malawi, with honours. At 16 he becomes a qualified teacher and is assigned to run district schools.
Abantu-Batho, the mouthpiece of the SANNC, is published. Financial backing for the newspaper came from Labotsibeni, the Queen Regent of Swaziland.
The South African Coloured Union formed in 1913.
January, Tolstoy Farm used by Mahatma Ghandi and the Satyagrahi families during the passive resistance is closed.
March, SANNC delegates meet for the first inaugural Annual Conference with approximately 106 delegates. One of the resolutions passed elects a deputation to be sent to Cape Town to lobby against the proposed Land Act.
14 March, In a judgment of the Cape Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Searle declares that marriages not held according to Christian ritual and/or not registered by the Registrar of Marriages, are invalid. This therefore declares all Moslem and Hindu marriages invalid. This is one of the factors that spark the passive resistance campaign of 1913.
June, An emergency meeting of the SANNC Executive Committee is called to discuss the Native Land Act.
The Immigrants Regulation Act (No 22 of 1913) is passed. The Act states that persons not literate in a European language and undesirables (on economic grounds or on account of standards or habits of life) could be excluded from country. Minister of Interior classifies all Asiatic persons as undesirable and Indian immigration is halted indefinitely.
19 June, The Land Act, Act No 27, is passed. The Native Land Act formally divides land between Black and White people. This Act “”¦restricted the Black majority’s ownership to just seven percent of the country”¦ [and] scheduled certain areas for exclusive Black settlement.” It also “”¦prevented Africans from buying land anywhere outside these areas [except in the Cape province].”
Sol Plaaitjie wrote of the Act: “”¦on Friday morning, 20 June 1913, the South African native found himself, not a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.” (Morris: 2004)
July, A White miners' general strike takes place on the Witwatersrand.
In a mass protest 600 African and Coloured women in the Orange Free State march to the municipal office in Bloemfontein and deposit a bag containing their passes. In Winburg, Charlotte Manye Maxeke is arrested along with 800 women on an anti-pass march to the town hall.
A SANNC delegation which is made up of Sol Plaatje, Makgatho, Saul Msane, J. Nyokong and Enoch Mamba meet with F.S. Malan, Acting Native Affairs Minister to discuss the Land Act.
27 August, As part of the Land Act, the government appoints the Native Land Commission, headed by Sir William H. Beaumont, to solve the ‘native problem’. The aim of the commission was to “delimit areas to be reserved exclusively for Europeans and areas to be reserved exclusively for African ownership” (Flemmer, 1972: 1)
22 September, Indian passive resisters, consisting of 12 men and 4 women, including Mrs. Kasturba Gandhi, are arrested at Volksrust and imprisoned in Pietermaritzburg.
The SANNC calls a second conference of 200 delegates in Johannesburg to discuss the results of the deputation to Cape Town and to consider tactics as the Land Act had become law. It is decided to appeal directly to His Majesty and the British public. Fundraising is carried out to send a deputation to Britain.
23 September, Women protests take place in the Orange Free State, led by Charlotte Maxeke, to resist government attempts to impose passes on women. It is the first time passes are burnt in protest. (Morris: 2004)  
September - November, An Indian 'general strike' and passive resistance campaign take place.
19 October, At a meeting of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in Durban, secretaries, M. C. Anglia and Dada Osman severely criticise M.K Gandhi and tender their resignations. However, their resignations are not accepted and the meeting withdraws the NIC’s support of the passive resistance campaign. In reaction, Gandhi and his supporters withdraw from the meeting and form a new body, the Natal Indian Association (NIA), at Parsee Rustomjees house. The NIC would become defunct until its resuscitation in 1920.
21 October, Transvaal women satyagrahis begin defiance activities, and hawk without licenses in Vereeniging. They are not arrested, cross the Natal border and encourage the miners in Newcastle to strike. Phoenix satyagrahis, including five women who cross the Natal Transvaal border, are arrested and sent to prison in Pietermaritzburg.
28 October, Albert Christopher, Ruben Joseph and three other Indians born in the colony leave Durban to assist those in the strike area.
November, Lord Hardinge, the British Viceroy of India delivers a speech in Madras, India, in which he expresses sympathy with the Indian passive resistance struggle in South Africa.
6 November, MK Gandhi leads a march of 127 women, 57 children and 2037 men from Charlestown to Volksrust. It becomes known as ‘the great march’.
18 December, The Indian Inquiry Commission, also known as the Solomon Commission, commences its sittings in Pretoria.
22 December, Valliamma Mudaliar is arrested along with others and sentenced to three months rigorous imprisonment in Pietermaritzburg. Mudaliar is young and cannot cope with the harsh rigours of prison. She falls seriously ill and becomes bedridden.
1914
After completing Standard Four, Albert Luthuli continues his education at Ohlange Institute under Dr. John Dube. After only two terms at Ohlange, Luthuli passes the end of year examinations and is transferred to a Methodist Institution at Edendale, near Pietermaritzburg.
The testimonies of farm labourers and squatters in the Orange Free State (OFS), which had been collected by Robert Msimang, are published in a SANNC pamphlet entitled Natives Land Act 1913: Specific Cases of Evictions and Hardships.
Sidney Percival Bunting is elected Labour Party member in the Transvaal Provincial Council.
The Indian Views is established by Mohamed Cassim Angalia in Durban. The Indian Views covers news and views of special interest to the Muslim community and is printed in both English and Gujarati languages.
January, A general strike of White workers is called on the Witwatersrand. Martial law is declared and strike leaders are deported by General Smuts.
The Riotous Assemblies and Criminal Law Amendment Act are directed against militant White trade unions.
A delegation from the SANNC, made up of Dr. John Dube, Sol Plaatje and Dr. Walter Rubusana among others, travels to Great Britain to protest against the Native Land Act. They are met by Colonial Secretary, Rt Hon. L. Harcourt who concludes that the SANNC should make a case to their Parliament and not to the Crown. Plaatje remains in England when the other delegates return.
1-9 January, After a split with the South African Party (SAP), supporters of General Hertzog meet in Bloemfontein and form the National Party.
14 January, A preliminary Gandhi-Smuts Agreement is reached between Gen. J.C. Smuts and M.K Gandhi. Under the agreement M.K. Gandhi seeks the release of Valliamma Mudaliar's who remained in prison despite her failing health before the expiry of her jail term.
20 January, The first group of Transvaal Indian women satyagrahis are released from Pietermaritzburg Prison, after three months imprisonment. Among them is Valliamma Moonsamy Mudaliar.
25 January, An Indian mass meeting in Durban unanimously endorses the agreement reached between General Smuts and Gandhi.
27 January, A petition is written and submitted by the Black and Coloured women of the Orange Free State against the carrying of passes by women.
February, The SANNC hosts its annual conference which is attended by the Secretary of Native Affairs, Edward Dower. However, he announces that the British Crown had already been advised by the British Government to assent to the Land Act. 
10-11 February , In accordance with the understanding reached by General J.C. Smuts and M.K Gandhi on 14 January 1914 passive resistance prisoners are released from prisons all in Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Newcastle and Port Elizabeth.
14 February, A petition against the Native Land Act written by Rev. John Dube is sent to the Prime Minister.
22 February , Sixteen-year-old Valliamma Mudaliar dies of a fever contracted in prison.
26 June , The Indian Relief Act is passed after a protracted period of Passive Resistance led by Gandhi, following the report by the Solomon Commission. The Act abolishes the £3 poll tax, recognizes marriages contracted in terms of traditional Hindu and Muslim rites, and facilitates the entry of wives into Union. However, restrictions on trading were not removed and Indians remain disenfranchised.
30 June, The Gandhi-Smuts Agreement is officially ratified through an exchange of letters between General Smuts and Gandhi.
18 July, M.K Gandhi leaves South Africa for London.
August, J.T Jabavu opposes Walter Rubusana in Cape Provincial elections.
4 August, Britain declares war against Germany and so enters into the First World War. South Africa, as part of the empire, also enters the war. A revolt is staged by anti-war Afrikaner nationalists, as many had German family ties and remembered German support during the South African War.
1915
Douglas Blackburn's Love Muti, which attacks British colonial attitudes, is published.
The annual SANNC conference rejects the draft constitution and a Constitution Committee is set up to consider the matter under the chairmanship of R.W. Msimang
13 May, South West Africa (Namibia) is captured by the South Africa army under the command of General Louis Botha.
22 August, At a special conference of the Labour Party, Colonel Creswell’s motion to support the war wins a majority. As a result those who were agnist the war led by William H. Andrews, walked out. The International League of the South African Labour Party is formed by the anti-war section.
10 September, The International League of the South African Labour Party publishes the first issue of their weekly organ, The International.
22 September, William H. Andrews is not re-elected to the South African Parliament as a result of disagreements with the Labour Party about the First World War and South Africa's participation in it. As a result, the members of the International League of the South African Labour Party form the International Socialist League (ISL). William H. Andrews is elected as Chairman and David Ivon Jones as Secretary.  Other leading figures in the ISL include the Buntings, the Sachs brothers and the First family. The ISL begins recruiting African workers. In Cape Town, under the ISL, left wing trade unions organized by white Anarchism Syndicalist union activists began emerging amongst coloured, African and Indian workers.
20 October, The Union’s second general elections are held. The South African Party (SAP) led by General Louis Botha emerges as the largest party but does not receive a majority. Botha forms a minority government with parliamentary support from the Unionist Party.
21 December, Two-thousand eight-hundred African miners strike at the Van Rhyn Deep mines, in a bid to redress some of their grievances.
1916
The dedication of the South African Native College at Fort Hare takes place, and the future University of Fort Hare is founded.
Sol Plaatje's Native Life in South Africa is published.
The Durban & District Native Football Association is established.
T.W. Thibedi joins the ISL.
9 January, Sidney Percival Bunting introduces a “Petition of Rights” for African Workers at the first national conference of the ISL, held in Johannesburg.
February, The first meeting between the ISL and Congress takes place in protest against the Land Act.
2 March, The Natives Land Commission report is issued.
2 October, At a meeting in Pietermaritzburg, the SANNC passes a resolution which describes the report of the Beaumont commission as “disappointing and unsatisfactory”.
1917
The Native Administration Bill considers additional land to be allocated to reserved “Native” areas.
The SANNC Executive Committee splits, with John Dube accepting the theory of territorial segregation. As a result Samuel Makgatho assumes office as president. Saul Msane, a prominent member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church is elected as secretary-general.
Albert Luthuli completes a teacher's training course at Edendale and becomes principal and sole staff member of a tiny intermediate school in Blaauwbosch, Natal.
February, Sol Plaatje returns to South Africa after three years of lecturing and working as a language assistant at London University.
16 February , A.H. West and others advise indentured workers in Natal not to re-indenture but become free men.
21 February , More than 600 men of the South African Native Labour Contingent drown off the Isle of Wight when the SS Mendi sinks after colliding with another vessel the SS Darro, in thick fog. Yet, after the World War I, none of the Black South African troops receive the customary acknowledgement of a medal or a ribbon.
March , The Imperial War Conference, attended by representatives of Britain and the British Dominions, commences in London. India's attendance at the Conference raises the hope of Indians in the colonies that they now have some leverage to effect changes for equal treatment.
The Indian Workers Union (IWU) is inaugurated under the chairmanship of Gordon Lee of the Industrial Socialist League (ISL).The Union enrols Indian members representing printing, tobacco, laundry, dock and municipal workers, miners and sugar slaves.
27 April , Sir Satyendra P. Sinha of India submits the so-called Reciprocity Resolution to the Imperial War Conference in London. The Conference unanimously accepts the principle of reciprocity between India and the Dominions. Sir Sinha's memorandum also includes grievances of South African Indians in connection with trading licences, franchise, and the ownership of land and railway regulations.
22 May, General J.C. Smuts delivers a speech entitled “The White man’s task” at a dinner given in his honour in London. The speech gives some guiding principles of the Union’s native policy.
15 & 18 June, A delegation from the NNC made up of Chief Mini, J.T Gumede and Abner Mtimkulu testify before the Select Committee on Native Affairs. To read extracts from the testimony click here.
July, Out of the joint meetings between the ISL and the TNC emerges the Industrial Workers of Africa (IWA), the first documented African labour organisation.
27 October, Oliver Tambo is born in the village of Kantolo in Pondoland.
1918, Rev. B.L.E. Sigamoney takes over the leadership of the Indian Workers Union (IWU) from Gordon Lee, and represents the Union at the Industrial Socialist League's annual conference.
The Industrial Workers of Africa (IWA) organized by the International Socialist League collapses.  
The Transvaal Natives Congress declares Abantu-Batho its main organ.
18 January, At a meeting of 300 women and 100 men in Ebenezer Hall, Johannesburg the Bantu Women’s National League is formed. The executive is made up of the following women:
President: Charlotte Maxeke
Vice-Presidents: Mrs. C. Mallela and Mrs. More
Secretary: Mrs Nonjekwa
Treasurer: Mrs. Mohan
A delegation, led by Maxeke, is also elected to meet with Prime Minister Louis Botha.
18 February , A strike by black workers commences with the boycott of the stores on mines in Benoni and spreads to other areas in the Witwatersrand.
30 March, The Transvaal Branch of Congress launches a passive resistance campaign with 2000 Africans gather in Vrededorp.
21 May , In a letter to the Indian Opinion, the Cape British Indian Council calls for a national conference of Indian organisations.
A formal Status Quo Agreement between the Chamber of Mines and White trade unions is reached. According to the agreement for every 17 Black workers employed by the mines, two White people would be employed at skilled wages.
5 June, The Afrikaner Broederbond is established in Johannesburg. Its membership is restricted to White, Protestant, Afrikaans men over the age of 25.
6 June, Fifty Johannesburg municipal sanitary workers go on strike for an extra 6d a day.             This becomes known as the ‘bucket strike’
8 June, The number of striking municipal sanitary workers on strike increases to 4000. Over 150 African workers are arrested under the Masters and Servants Act and sentenced to two months’ hard labour.
9 July, As a result of the high number of strikes by African workers in June, a delegation of African religious and political leaders, among them Saul Msane and Isaiah Bud-M’belle of the SANNC, and workers from the Rand meet with Botha.  
18 July, Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela , the first democratically elected president of South Africa, is born in the small village of Mvezo.
2 August, The SANNC Select Committee, headed by Richard Msimag receives the organisation’s revised Constitution at a meeting in Bloemfontein.
September, Coloured soldiers of the Cape Corps defeated the Turks holding a key position, the Square Hill, on the road from Jerusalem to Nablus, in Palestine
20 October, A.M. Cachalia dies and is succeeded by Ebrahim I. Asvat as elected Chairman of the Transvaal British Indian Association. This organisation was founded in 1903 by M.K Gandhi in order to vouch for Indian rights.
11 November , An armistice is signed between the Allied and the Central Powers. This brings the First World War to an end.
16 December, The SANNC sends an appeal to King George V which lists African loyalty in the war and requests the intervention of the King to overturn the policy of the Union government.
1919
A SANNC delegation visits Britain to protest the Land Act for the second time.
A protest is held in the Orange Free State against the carrying of passes by women.
The South African Native National Convention organises an anti-pass campaign. In Johannesburg alone, 700 arrests are made. According to Limb (2010: 175), the anti-pass campaigns were organised by the Transvaal Native Congress (TNC).
Reneging on the Companies Act of 1909, the Krugersdorp Municipal Council declares a transaction made by an Indian-owned company, Dadoo Limited invalid. This transaction involves purchasing land from a White owner. In addition, the Municipal Council obtains a court interdict restraining a European firm, Messrs TW Beckett and Company, from leasing a Krugersdorp stand to an Indian tailor.
The Bantu Purity League is formed by Sibusisiwe Makhanya with the aim of protecting young women.
Seventy-thousand African miners go on strike on the Witwatersrand. The strike is highly disciplined and organised and an alarmed government throws police cordons around each of the compounds, preventing coordination of demands and action. Troops break through the workers’ barricades, with bayonets fixed, killing three and wounding 40. Police and armed White civilians attack a meeting of solidarity with the striking miners, killing eight and wounding 80.
7 January , The Industrial and Commercial Union (ICU) is formed in Cape Town under the leadership of Clements Kadalie.
The Bantu Women’s League holds it ‘Campaign against Pass Laws’.
20 January , The Cape British Indian Council invites Indian organisations to a South African Indian Conference.
26-30 January , The first South African Indian Conference, convened by the Cape British Indian Council, is held in Cape Town. John X. Merriman, the former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, opens the Conference. The Conference appoints a committee of 12 members to frame the constitution of an organisation to unite all South African Indians. In addition, the conference resolves to agitate for full civil rights and to resort to civil resistance until those rights are granted. At this conference the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) is unofficially formed.
19 February, The first Pan African Congress is held in Paris, France and is headed by William Edward Durghardt Du Bois. The Congress is attended by 57 delegates representing 15 countries with the aim of addressing issues facing African due to European colonization. Sol Plaatje attends.
26 February, The Bantu Union is formed in Queenstown, under the leadership of Meshach Pelem. To read his address click here.
March, The remarkable growth of the ICU is stimulated by the arrest of one of its organisers, Selby Msimang in connection with a movement for higher wages in Bloemfontein.
March , The Transvaal Native Congress resolves to campaign against the pass laws and renews the demand for higher wages.
30 March, The SANNC launches an anti-pass passive resistance campaign on the Witwatersrand in Transvaal. Several thousand protestors gather to hand in their passes. Anti-pass demonstrations carry on into April.
March to April, A delegation from the SANNC which includes J.T Gumede, Sol Plaatje (who is already in London after attending the Pan African Congress) and Selope Thema, travels to Great Britain and France to present the African case at the Paris Peace Conference. Also at the conference, representing South Africa, are Prime Minister Louis Botha and General J.C. Smuts.
April, David Ivon Jones and L.H. Greene are charged with incitement to public violence in a Maritzburg court for publishing a pamphlet entitled ‘The Bolsheviks are Coming’. They are fined ₤75 (or four months in prison) but are later acquitted on an appeal to the Supreme Court.
1 April, An interview with I. Bud Mbelle, J.W. Dunjwa and P.J. Motsoakae of the SANNC which looks at the decision to carry out the passive resistance campaign, is reported in The Star.
1 May , A Select Committee is established by the House of Assembly to look into the acquisition of property in Transvaal by Indians through mortgages and shareholding in private companies. Following the recommendations of Select Committee, the Asiatics (Land and Trading) (Transvaal) Amendment Act, Act No. 37 of 1919 is proclaimed. Asiatics with rights to trade on property outside designated Asiatic Bazaars are allowed to continue to do so, but a register of existing licences and businesses owned by Indians would be compiled. No new licences would be issued. Asiatics can also no longer acquire land through companies, but will still be able to acquire land through nominees.
6 May, The SANNC holds its first Annual Conference in the Cape Colony. To read the ‘Presidential Address’ by S.M Makgatho click here.
12 May , The Transvaal British Indian Association calls a mass meeting to organise opposition to the proposed Asiatics (Land and Trading) (Transvaal) Amendment Act.
27 June , A firm supporter of the ‘Back to Africa’ movement in the United States of America, Marcus Garvey initiates the Black Star Line (part of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)) with the intention of bringing home the African Americans.  Branches of the UNIA were established in the Cape and some of Garvey’s ideas were adopted by some members of the ANC such as James Thaele.
July , Indian leaders in the Transvaal sign a covenant pledging civil resistance. The signatories include the following officers of the Transvaal British Indian Association:
Chairman: E. I. Asvat
Vice-Chairman: N. A. Camay
Joint Secretaries: P.K. Naidoo and B. K. Patel
The Transvaal Emergency Conference Committee is formed with E.I. Patel as Chairman and N.A. Camay and P.K. Naidoo as joint-secretaries. The Committee calls for a South African National Indian Emergency Conference.
3 August, The Asiatics Land and Trading (Transvaal) Amendment Act, Act No. 37 of 1919, is promulgated.
3-6 August, The second South African Indian Conference is convened in Johannesburg by the Transvaal Emergency Conference Committee, with the aim of creating a national body to deal with threats to the rights of Indians.
27 August, Prime Minister Louis Botha dies of a heart attack at his home in Pretoria.
3 September, After the death of General Louis Botha in August, General J.C. Smuts becomes the second Prime Minister of South Africa.
The constitution of the SANNC is finally approved at a general meeting. To read extracts from the constitution click here
4-5 September , The Anti-Asiatic League holds a congress in Pretoria with L.J. Philips, an attorney from Krugersdorp, as Chairman. The congress sets up the South African League under the leadership of Abe Bailey. The aims of the League are the expropriation of all immovable property held by Asiatics, as well as the removal of Asiatics that are residing and trading in the Transvaal.
17 September, German South West Africa (later re-named Namibia) is placed under South African administration.
October , A dock strike by African and Coloured dockworkers in Cape Town takes place led by the ICU. At the time, the dockworkers' salary is three shillings and eight pennies per day for unmarried workers and four shilling per day for married men. Three-thousand workers respond to the call and within a few days some 5 000 African workers in the railway yards, in factories and on public works follow suit in sympathy of the dockworkers. The unions demand a wage of eight shillings and six pennies per day.  An increase of one shilling per day offered by the employers is rejected by workers.

Last updated : 04-May-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 04-Jul-2011