Yusuf Dadoo Timeline: 1930 - 1939

1930

October 5, The Asiatics Land Tenure (Amendment) Bill imposes segregation on Indians in the Transvaal.  The South African Indian Congress meets at an emergency conference in Johannesburg to consider the position of Indians in relation to the Bill.  The Bill prohibits Indians from occupying or residing any land proclaimed as a public mining area.

29 December 1929 - 1 January 1930, The Asiatic Land Tenure (Amendment) Bill dominates the tenth annual conference of the South African Indian Congress held in Cape Town. The Conference appoints a Standing Committee to conduct negotiations with the Governments of India and South Africa. 

1932

January 12 - February 4, The Second Round Table Conference takes place in Cape Town. Sastri, the Indian Government's Agent raises the possibility of the two governments jointly cooperating to investigate an organised emigration scheme to places other than India.

Dadoo returns home, by ship, on vacation during the British summer. On board the ship, he is subjected to overt racism. Dadoo not one to turn the other cheek addresses the dining room on the evils of racism and its eventual demise at the cost of its perpetrators.  For  the rest of the voyage, his fellow passengers, go out of their way to treat him as an equal, with some of them even going so far as to ignore the offending  racists passengers.

He spends his vacation in Krugersdorp with his family.  

August 27 - 28, Dadoo attends the 1932 South African Indian Congress, in Johannesburg. The conference discusses the controversial Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Act, which sought to curb and restrict Indian ownership of land and the conducting of business.

Dadoo is opposed to the Round Table Conference.  He believed that the Cape Town Agreement was not in the interests of the Indian people.  He is against the Agents General and looked upon them as being the mouthpiece of the Government of India, which was a part of the British imperialist policy.

Dadoo lobbies for a more militant approach but his proposals are dismissed. The conference took the decision not to cooperate with the Feetham Commission, appointed under the Asiatic  Land Tenure Amendment Act of 1932 recommended certain areas and Asiatic Bazaars for exemption.  No provision for ownership existed in these areas, resulting in certain areas where Indians resided being administered under obnoxious regulations, providing no security of tenure and not conducive to improvement in housing conditions.

September, Sorabjee Rustomjee, the President of the South African Indian Congress, at its annual conference, criticises  the Indian Government's delegation for failing to achieve results at the Round Table Conference.

At the end of his six week vacation, Yusuf returns to Edinburgh to his studies.

1933

During his summer vacation en route to Georgetown, British Guyana (West Indies) to attend the wedding of his friend, Hardutt Singh's, sister, the Colonial Office in the Port of Spain declares him a prohibited immigrant and detain him on instructions from the British Colonial Office on account of his political  activities.  After the intervention of Hardutt's father, a member of the British Guyana Legislative Council, Dadoo is allowed to proceed to attend the wedding.  The father paid a $5 000 surety that Dadoo would not engage in any political activity during his six week stay, in Georgetown.

December 31, 1933 - January 1, 1934, The Indian Community is deeply divided.  A powerful faction of the Congresses breakaway and establishes The Colonial Born and Indian Settlers Association (CBISA). The Colonial Born and Settlers' Indian Association (CBSIA) holds its first conference in Durban.

1935

Dadoo writes his final medical examinations in July 1935.  He qualifies as a medical doctor at the Royal College in Edinburgh.

Before Dadoo leaves for South Africa, he visits Krishna Menon, the Indian National Congress senior leader in England and Dr Mulk Raj Anand, in London.

The passing of the Hertzog Bills leads to the formation of All African Convention (AAC).  The Hertzog Bills outlined a comprehensive segregation programme with an emphasis on disenfranchising Africans of the little rights that they enjoy

December, Coloured, African and White left wing activists led by Communists Party leaders in the Cape, form the National Liberation League (NLL), the first expression of a radical new national non-racial movement,  geared to mobilising national opposition to the disenfranchisement of black people;.  Mrs Zainunissa (Cissie) Gool is elected President and James La Guma as the General Secretary. 

1936

 July, Dadoo returns to South Africa by boat, landing in Cape Town.  From here, he travels on the Blue Train to Johannesburg and then to Krugersdorp. Again, Dadoo is subject to discriminatory treatment on board the train and he stands up to the railway officials.  They are forced to accommodate him. He spends a month in Johannesburg and then visits Durban, before opening his first Surgery in 11 Street, Pageview.

His father assists him to purchases a semi-detached property in End Street in the poor working class area of Doornfontein. Half of the house serves as his surgery while the other half serves as his home. Dadoo becomes a member of the Transvaal Indian Congress. He is offered a position as a Vice President of the Transvaal Indian Congress which he declines on principle. Dadoo was critical of the structure of the Transvaal Indian Congress and the manner in which it was run by a small clique who did very little to makes itself accountable to its members and community.

June, Following the publication of the Feetham Commission Report, the Minister of Interior, Hofmeyer, introduces the Transvaal AsiaTransvaal Indian CongressLand Tenure Act.

The Act granted the Minister the right to grant rights to Indians to own land outside those areas, which were designed for Indian settlement and trade in what it called the 'Gold Area'.

Dadoo, Ismail 'Maulvi' Cachalia, Roy Naidoo and other Transvaal Indian Congress members called for the rejection of the legislation and came up against the Transvaal Indian Congress leadership who were for acceptance of the concessions that the Act provides. They began to meet as left opposition to the Transvaal Indian Congress. They wanted the congress to rtake a more rigorous and radical positions in their dealing with the government and anti - discriminatory legislation. They failed to persuade the Transvaal Indian Congress to boycott the Mixed Marriages and Murray Commissions

May 28 , Minister Jan Hofmeyr in the face of growing protests withdraws the Transvaal Asiatic  Land Tenure (Amendment) Bill

1937

June 12, Dadoo, ZV Parek, SA Nana, Joint Secretaries of the Transvaal Indian Congress,  P.K. Desai, M.M. Mid,  Rev. B. Sigamoney, K. Naransamy, Advocate Minty,  I Valiullah, meet with Johannesburg City Councillors J.J.  Page and l. Leveson to discuss housing segregation and the proposed destruction of Pageview and the creation of a new residential and business development.

December, Dadoo initiates the formation of the Indian Social Reform Society.  At a meeting held in December in Johannesburg of young Muslim men he calls for the community to reform some of its cultural practices, the principle one been the education of women.  Dadoo is elected President, Hajee Mohammed Moosajee Coovadia Secretary, and Abdul Haque Moosajee Coovadia, as Treasurer. Others present at this meeting included Mohammed Sadick and Solly Desai.  

1938

March, Dadoo is one of the delegates to a conference called by the National Liberation League held in Cape Town.  The conference agrees to form a national organisation, the Non-European United Front (NEUF), of Africans, Coloured and Indians to secure equality in political social and economic life.

Independent of the Transvaal Indian Congress, Dadoo and others formed the Non-European Unity Front in the Transvaal.  The  Reverend Sigamoney, PS Joshi, Molvi Cachalia, George Carr and many other Coloured teachers, and from the African community, JB Marks, Josie  Mpama, Maloyi and Selope Tema join. Dadoo becomes Transvaal Chairman of the NEUF

May, For the first time in five years, the Natal Indian Congress holds its annual conference.  Throughout the year, it launches a vigorous membership drive, forming new branches and revitalising old ones

May 26, At a meeting at Patidar Hall, Fordsburg, Dadoo and the left voice their objection to the old guards' co-operation with the Murray Commission.  They move that Indians should boycott the Commission as it was appointed to investigate the extent and nature of property owned by Indians.

June, The Transvaal Indian Congress Provincial Congress, at the Patidar Hall votes to present evidence to the Murray Commission.  Sir Rama Rau, the Indian Agent-General, addresses the delegates stating that evidence be presented before the Murray Commission as well as the Mixed Marriages Commission

December 29, Dadoo attends a reception held by the Communist Party of South Africa Central Committee during its annual conference in Johannesburg.  He meets Moses Kotane, who was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of South Africa at this conference.

1939

Dadoo is elected Chairman of the Madressa Anjuman Islamia of Kholvad (Kholvad Mosque).  He serves as Chairperson for four years but resigns in 1942, saying that serving on the Board of an organisation of a specific group contradicts his claims as a member of the nationalist group representing Transvaal Indians across religious or ethnic divides.

February, The Minister of Interior, R Stuttaford introduces a new scheme to extend the question of segregation to all black communities nationally.

The scheme called the 'Servitude Scheme' proposed that separate residential areas for Coloured and Indians would be set up if 75% of the White residents of an area desired it.

March 1, The Transvaal Indian Congress calls a protest meeting against the proposed Servitude Scheme.

S. M. Nana, secretary of Transvaal Indian Congress, moves a resolution to protest proposed anti-Asian measures. Dadoo moves an amendment to set up a Council of Action to start a Passive Resistance Campaign and also calls for cooperation with other non-white organizations to oppose segregation. The amendment receives majority support but the Chairman of the meeting, Mr Valod declared that the amendment was defeated and closed the meeting. 

March 27, The Non European Unity Front (NEUF) in response to the Servitude Scheme circulates a petition demanding the repeal of racial laws, and organises a demonstration in Cape Town.  Mrs Z Gool, President of the National Liberation League addresses 20 000 people at a mass meeting held on Cape Town Parade. After the meeting as the crowd started marches to Parliament, the police wade into the marchers and continued to assault the residents of District Six, the Coloured quarter, until the early hours of the next morning.

April 8, Dadoo and a small delegation from the Transvaal attended a national conference in Cape Town convened by the National Liberation League. The conference resolves to use boycotts, passive resistance and industrial action to oppose the Servitude Scheme and segregation in general. A National Council is elected to build the NEUF and to prepare for mass action. The National Council is composed of Mrs Gool, President; Baloyi, Senior Vice-President; M. Kotane, Secretary; W. H. Andrews, Treasurer; Dadoo of Johannesburg and H. A. Naidoo of Durban.  The Transvaal African National Congress turns down a proposal to join the NEUF.

During the first half of 1939 Dadoo takes a momentous decision to join the Communist Party of South Africa  after being approached by Michael Harmel. He joins the City Branch of the Communist Party of South Africa and attends study classes run by Michael Harmel and Edwin Mofutsanyana

May 4, The Government proposes a new segregation bill, the Asiatic Transvaal Land and Trading Bill (Pegging Act) to replace the Stuttaford Scheme.  The Bill, inter alia, refused a certificate for a trading licence or its transfer except under the special authority of the Minister.

May 7, At a mass meeting attended by 3,000 Indians, chaired by Ebrahim Ismail Asvat is organized by Dadoo and the Nationalist Bloc of the Transvaal Indian Congress, at Patidar Hall, Johannesburg. The meeting agrees to embark on a passive resistance campaign.

A Passive Resistance Council of 25 persons is elected to manage the campaign with Dadoo as chairperson. Dadoo and the members of the Passive Resistance Council travel throughout the Transvaal to raise funds and garner support for the Passive Resistance Campaign

June 4, The Transvaal Indian Congress organises a meeting to discuss the Passive Resistance Campaign at the Osrin Picture Palace.

Armed thugs led by Mahomed Kajee, supporting the Valod-Nana group, disrupt the meeting and assault members of the Nationalist Bloc.  Two people are seriously assaulted, Moosa Bhayat was disembowelled and Dayabhai Govindji, dies of his injuries on 8 June.

Thousands of people attend Dayabhai Govindji’s funeral. The use of strong arm tactics in the struggle between the Nana Congress leadership and the Dadoo led Nationalist Group and the death of Govindji turns the tide of public opinion in support for Dadoo and the Nationalists group.

June - July, Mrs Z. Gool's tour on behalf of the NEUF brings valuable aid to militants in Natal and the Transvaal. They gain the support of Christopher and Rustomjee in Natal, both seeking to weaken Kajee's grip on the South African Indian Congress.

July 9, The Nationalist Group calls a public meeting at the Indian Sports Ground in Johannesburg, which is attended by 6,000 people. The mass meeting endorses the call to launch a Passive Resistance campaign on August 1. The meeting calls for the withdrawal of the Indian Agency. Three Natal Indian Congress leaders, Albert Christopher, PR Pather and Sorabjee Rustomjee, declare their support for passive resistance

A ”Council of Action” to conduct the campaign is established with Dadoo as Chairperson.  The Indian community seemed willing and prepared to resume the struggle that Gandhi had initiated thirty years before.

July 19, Dadoo receives a cable from Gandhi, a week before the commencement of the passive resistance campaign asking him to postpone the Campaign.  Gandhi argued that the time was not ripe for Satyagraha. Gandhi has high hopes in the belief that India and Britain will act in order that an 'honourable settlement' in South African can be achieved.  Dadoo acquiesces and calls off the campaign

July 23, Sorabjee Rustomjee and other CBSIA leaders organise a meeting at the City Hall, Durban, to express Natal's solidarity with the Transvaal passive resistance.   Dadoo meets the militants in the Natal Indian Congress and the Liberal Study Group.

July 29, A Colonel Morris begins recruiting Indians into the South African Defence Force for the war effort.  The state in an attempt to get Black support for the war effort tones down anti-segregation rhetoric.  Smuts tries to accommodate Coloureds and Indians through the creation of limited representation.

August 19, A Mixed Marriages Commission, under Charles de Villiers, recommends the introduction of a law forbidding mixed marriages and illicit miscegenation punishable

August 22, The Indian Agent-General, Sir Benegal Rama Rao, convenes a meeting of representatives of Natal Indian Congress and Colonial Born and Settler Indian Association 

September 1, World War II breaks out

September 4, Parliament decides to support Smuts Government’s proposal to support Great Britain's decision to go to war by eighty votes to sixty-seven. The anti-war parties led by the Afrikaner Nationalists leaders Hertzog and Malan refuse to fight in Britain's war

Dadoo, under the banner of the NEUF, opposes black participation in what the Communist Party called 'the imperialist war'. Dadoo and the Nationalist Block argued that "if the restrictions that bind us today are removed, we shall be the first to defend democracy."

The conservatives, while praising the spirit of Gandhi's Satyagrahis, discourage all forms of mass struggle and seek relief from further discrimination by offering the services of Indians in the war.

Defeated on their war policy, the conservatives in the association expel seven committee members, including Dr G. M. Naicker and the communists C. I. Amra, H. A. Naidoo and D. A. Seedat. The militants then launch a campaign against the war and for citizenship rights that changes the political outlook of Indians in Natal. Members of the Bloc are prosecuted under the War Measures Act, and DA Seedat goes to jail in April 1941 on a charge of subversion.

They call for a boycott of the Broome 'Penetration' Commission, which had been set up in 1940 to investigate the extent of Indian occupation in white areas; and attacked the conciliatory policy of the bourgeois leaders who controlled the Transvaal Indian Congress, the Natal Indian Association and the Natal Indian Congress

October 8, The Natal Indian Congress and the Colonial Born and Settler Indian Association merge to form the Natal Indian Association

November, The Natal Indian Association Executive agrees to cooperate with the Lawrence Commission and to form a committee with the Durban City Council to control the purchase of property by Indians.

 

Last updated : 19-Sep-2014

This article was produced by South African History Online on 31-Mar-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.