Yusuf Dadoo Timeline

Yusuf Dadoo Timeline: 1940 - 1949

1940

Within a year of his joining the Party, Dadoo's role as an activist in the NEUF and the Indian Community raises his profile in the Communist Party. He is elected to the Johannesburg District Committee of the Communist Party of South Africa.

March, The Lawrence Committee is inaugurated.   All land and estate agents are invited to report any cases where Indians intended acquiring or occupying properties in predominantly White areas.  The Indian members of the Committee are expected to use their influence to prevent such transactions. 

March, The National Conference of the Communist Party of South Africa endorses the Central Committee's opposition to WWII. It agrees to fight pro-Nazi white nationalists at home and begins to agitate amongst the black community for full democratic rights.

May, The Broome Commission is established to inquire into penetration of Indians into predominantly white areas in Natal and the Transvaal for trade and residential purposes

July 7, The All African Convention meets in Bloemfontein and unlike the Communist Party of South Africa and other militants, the conference discusses the war and how African people could render support for the war effort of the British and the Union Governments.

July 19, 1940. Writes to Prof. Jabavu on Non-Europeans and the War.

Aug. 22, 1940. Summoned by magistrate for contravening Emergency Regulation.

August 27, Dadoo is arrested for printing and distributing an anti-war leaflet in his capacity as the Secretary of the Transvaal NEUF.  He is taken to the police station at Market Square, charged and released on his own recognisance.  He goes on trial in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court.  The case is deferred to September.  Outside the courtroom, hundreds of supporters greet Dadoo.  He is carried shoulder high to his home in End Street

August 29, 1940. Mass support for Dado

September 6, Dadoo appears in court to face the charge against him.  In his statement to the court, he explains how the leaflet came to be issued. 

He is found guilty of contravening the Emergency Regulations and sentenced to one month imprisonment or a fine of 25 pounds, with a further two months of hard labour suspended for two years.  He refuses to pay the fine but is released when a member of the Nationalist Bloc, MD Baruchi, insists on paying the fine on his behalf and Dadoo is released.

October 7, Transvaal Indian Congress radicals hold a mass meeting to protest against the Indian Penetration Commission (Broome Commission) to investigate penetration into predominantly White areas in Natal and the Transvaal since 1 January 1927.  A number of speakers vehemently denounce the commission.  Dadoo calls for a boycott of the commission

Oct. 3, 1940. Speaks on "India Today" at L.B. Club

Oct. 17, 1940. Speaks on Penetration Commission

Oct. 31, 1940. Addresses meeting in Maritzburg convened by NEUF and Nationalist Bloc of NIA

1941

January, Dadoo is elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of South Africa and for the next 42 years serves on the Central Committee, other than when he becomes terminally ill, does he miss a session of the Party's Central Committee. 

January 30, On the eve of his court trial, under the Emergency Regulations, Dadoo issues a statement calling on the Indian community to support the Passive Resistance Council in enrolling and organising volunteers.  This statement is co-signed by  S. M. Desai; M. L. Patel; M. D. Bharoochi; E. S. Dangor; S. V. Patel; I. A. Cachalia.      

January 31, At his trial Dadoo conducts his own case and cross-examines witnesses.  Dadoo is sentenced to four months` imprisonment with hard labour or a fine of £40.  He makes a speech from the dock.  The Star and Daily Mail report his speech in court in full.  The suspended sentence comes into force.  He is sent to the Blue Sky Prison in Boksburg.  

Dadoo witnesses, at first hand, the humiliation and hardships experienced by Black prisoners at the hands of the White prison warders.  He does not claim any privileges, performing the menial tasks, which all prisoners were forced to carry out, emptying the sanitary pails although other prisoners offered to do it for him.

In prison Dadoo arranges with his legal counsel, Harry Bloom, to bring him books under the pretext that he is studying.  On one occasion, the chief warder found that Bloom had brought him a copy of Karl Marx's Das Kapital. The book was denied to Dadoo.  Fortunately, for Dadoo, the warder had failed to notice that Bloom's last offering to Dadoo, was Engel's Anti-Dhuring

End of January, Dadoo is arrested for contravening the Emergency Regulations for making an anti war speech calculated to incite the public to oppose the Government, at a public meeting in Benoni Location. 

April, The Government passes the Asiatics Land and Trading Act restricting trading among Indians.  In terms of this Act some areas were exempted from the provisions of the Gold Act in Johannesburg, Krugersdorp, Klerksdorp and Roodepoort; and it allowed land to be transferred to Indians in the Malay Location and the Nigel Bazaar.

April 10, 1941. Appointed adviser to Indian National Congress. Is Secretary of NEUF in prison

April 27, At a meeting of 1 000 people a resolution is unanimously adopted to embark on passive resistance as the Government has ignored 'all constitutional representations' and has sought to reduce them 'to helotry for the crime of their colour'.

April 30, Dadoo is released from Benoni Prison to a hero's welcome.  Hundreds of people gather outside the prison.  A procession of about fifty cars escorts him to Johannesburg from Boksburg.  He is taken to the home of Moosa Bhayat, where a reception is held and then to the Gandhi Hall to attend a meeting in his honour organized by the NEUF and other fraternal organisations.  Mrs Z. Gool presides over the meeting.

May 12, The Transvaal Indian Congress launches the passive resistance campaign against trading and land restrictions imposed against Transvaal Indians by the Smuts Government. Transvaal Indian Congress Passive Resistance Campaign members M.E. Nagdee, S.B. Medh, Naransammy Naidoo, and Yusuf S. Patel defy licensing laws and set up fruit stalls outside the City Hall without licenses.  They continue this until March 1942.  This programme does not make a great impact as they are too small in number and the authorities chose to ignore them

June 22, Germany invades the Soviet Union.  The Communist Party's Central Committee supports the Soviet Union's participation in the war.  This problem has serious repercussions within the Indian community and the opponents of the Communist Party of South Africa see this as a betrayal.

The Party undertakes the "Defend South Africa" Campaign throughout the country, addressing meetings in all the towns in the Transvaal, Natal and the Cape explaining why the Party supported South Africa's participation in the War.

Dadoo and the Communist Party come under strong attack from some quarters.

A two day conference, with 88 organizations attending, is called in Johannesburg to discuss the war.  There is heated debate and discussion because there are people who cannot see how the character of the war has changed and why they should support it.  Dadoo opens the Conference and also delivers the closing speech.  As a result, when the delegations went back, various organisations begin to take an active part in the whole struggle.

The Party's demand of the Government is that unless there is full and equal treatment of Black recruits joining the war with White soldiers, their participation has no meaning.  

At a meeting, in Pietermaritzburg, to explain the Communist Party of South Africa's position on the war, Dadoo, Moses Kotane and Michael Harmel are shouted down as they attempt to explain the Party's position.  Subsequently they had to abandon the meeting.

Dadoo, with fellow Party members then travel to the Transkei, to the Bhunga to explain to the chiefs their position on the war.

Due to food shortages, some business people began hoarding food resulting in food raids by some Communist Party members.  Dadoo also participates in one such food raid in Diagonal Street.

1942

February 21, Gandhi was serving a jail term and had embarked on a fast. The Nationalist Group organises a meeting in Johannesburg's Gandhi Hall. Dadoo moves a resolution calling on the British to release Gandhi and for the United Nations to intervene to hasten the independence of India from colonial rule.

July 28, Dadoo opens a two-day conference of 83 organisations held at the Inch Cape Hall, in Cape Town to discuss the war situation and the part played by non-Europeans.  After heated debate, an overwhelming majority support the view that fascism, nationally and internationally, had to be defeated, the right of non-Whites to bear arms and the right of Africans to join trade unions

November, The Mayor of Johannesburg calls a meeting at the Bantu Men's Social Centre to reach an agreement on the Social Security code.  The majority present favour proposals that Dadoo puts forward. His proposals call for an increase in wages among the unskilled African workforce, the opening of skilled jobs to non-Europeans, proper provision of foodstuffs to non-European soldiers, abolition of racial legislation and the extension of free and adequate medical and educational facilities.  He also condemns the formation of separate social security funds and the holding of separate social security meetings on racial lines.  The Mayor's plans are rejected

1943

January 8, At a working committee meeting, the nationalist bloc and the moderates meet to work out the details for the adoption of the Transvaal Indian Congress constitution

January 24, The Transvaal Indian Congress convenes a conference at the Wemmer Sports Ground.   Dadoo leads a group of radicals who campaign for a more militant struggle against discrimination and a democratic Transvaal Indian Congress.  They also campaign to involve Indian women fully in the national struggle and demand their full participation in the Transvaal Indian Congress elections.  After the adoption of the constitution (previously the Transvaal Indian Congress had no constitution), the two groups leave through different exits.  The Nana group win the election with 3,797 votes to 3,319.  An important feature of the election is that about 500 Indian women voted, many of whom were ironically mobilised by the Nana Group.

February, Amin Cajee drives Dadoo to Durban to attend a Natal Indian Congress meeting in celebration of India's Independence Day

June 3, The Communist Party of South Africa Conference discusses the dissolution of the Communist International as well as the upcoming parliamentary elections that had been announced at the end of May

June 26 - 29, The South African Indian Congress meets in Johannesburg for the first time since 1935.  The meeting resolves by 52-11 votes for the Indian Government to severe links with South Africa

July 18, A pledge is taken by 143 members to merge the Natal Indian Association into the Natal Indian Congress.  The Natal Indian Congress is chosen for historical reasons as well as its greater viability  

August, After the South African Indian Congress conference, the Natal Indian Association and the remnant of the Natal Indian Congress, the Kajee group, merge in the Natal Indian Congress.  The Natal Indian Congress then tries to co-operate with the Third Broome Commission. AI Kajee and SM Naidoo agree to serve on the Third Broome Commission, which the militants oppose

December 4, Dadoo opens an Anti Pass Conference called by the Communist Party. Dadoo is elected to a committee to mount an anti pass campaign - this was at the middle of the war. The Committee was given the task of setting up regional committees throughout South Africa prior to the convening of a national anti pass conference in Easter 1944

1944

January 14 - 16, At the Communist Party of South Africa Conference, a resolution, amongst many others, calls on Party members to take an active part in building the national organisations of the African, Coloured and Indians peoples and the establishment of strong local branches in every centre

End of January, Dadoo and Kotane are the main speakers at a meeting presided by CS Ramohanoe to protests against passes organised by the Anti-Pass Committee.  Over 2 000 people attend this meeting at the Johannesburg Market Square

February 19 - 20, Dadoo attends the first Natal Indian Congress Provincial Conference  held at the Avalon Theatre in Durban.  The Conference is sharply divided on two major issues - one concern is its attitude to the Broome Commission and the other concerns the strategy to be adopted in the fight against the Pegging Act

April 18, The Kajee Group concludes the Pretoria Agreement with Smuts.  Smuts undertakes to suspend the 'Pegging Act' on condition that a licensing board is appointed to control the occupation by Indians of houses formerly occupied by Whites in Durban.

Voluntary segregation, said Dadoo, will lead to 'national suicide'; Dr G. M. Naicker and twelve other members of the Natal Indian Congress Executive repudiate the agreement

April 25, The Durban District Branch of the Communist Party of South Africa is the first organisation, to protest against the Pretoria Agreement and circulates a petition, condemning the Agreement between Kajee and Smuts. The Party is able to gather thousands of signatures

April 28, Thirty-five representatives of Indian organisations meet in Durban, to form the Anti Segregation Council (ASC) to oppose the Pretoria Agreement, to call for the repeal of the Pegging Act and to obtain full franchise rights for the Indian people. Dadoo spends six weeks in Natal campaigning for the ASC against the Pegging Act.

May, Fourteen members of the Natal Indian Congress issue a statement denouncing the Smuts-Kajee Agreement and call for a mass meeting to decide on the issue

May 6, The Anti-Segregation Council 9 ASC) pressurises the Natal Indian Congress to hold elections.  Sixty seven delegates representing various trade unions, literary, religious and educational bodies and some Natal Indian Congress branches attend the first ASC Conference, where they denounce the Agreement and the treacherous role played by the moderates who had agreed to cooperate with the Government regarding the Agreement.  The Conference adopts a resolution demanding unrestricted franchise and called upon all South Africans to resist segregation and resolved to pursue a campaign to give the ASC as broad a base as possible

May 14, The Communist Party of South Africa organises a rally where 10 000 people assembled at the Red Square rejected the Agreement.

May 20 - 21, A mass anti-pass conference attended by 540 delegates representing 600 000 people meet, at the Gandhi Hall, Johannesburg.  Resolutions condemning the Pass Laws are passed.  A National Anti-Pass Council is elected to collect one million signatures to petition which would be presented to Parliament.  The National Anti-Pass Council elect Dr Xuma as chairman, Dadoo as vice-chairman, David Bopape as secretary, Josie Mpama as a trustee, Edwin Mofutsanyana JB Marks, Alpheus Maliba and Moses Kotane.

After the conference, all the delegates march to Market Square, where Xuma and Dadoo address the gathered assembly.  Thereafter, 15 000 people march through the centre of Johannesburg. 

As a result of this campaign, the Chief Magistrate of Johannesburg, accuses Dadoo 'of inciting the natives' through his speeches.  Dadoo is threatened with internment.

November 12, At its second conference, the ASC discusses questions relating to its internal structure and a programme of action.  The Conference decides as far as possible, to compel the Indian Congress to carry out the programme of action. It decides to make a concerted effort to enrol workers and farmers as members, thereby endeavouring to turn the Natal Indian Congress into an organisation "truly representative of Indian opinion." A set of minimum demands is also adopted

November, The Johannesburg District of the Party and the trade unions participate in theAlexandra bus strike Committee in which the African National Congress plays a leading role.  Dadoo, on a number of occasions join the boycotters and walks to the City as an expression of solidarity

December 7, AI Kajee and S.R. Naidoo resign from the South African Indian Congress after Smuts declares the Pretoria Agreement to be "stone dead". Consequently, the Commission terminates its work and issues an Interim Report, which calls for a Round Table Conference of the Indian and South African Governments, and suggests that Indians be offered some form of parliamentary representation.

1945

January 28, The moderates are compelled to negotiate with the ASC over the distribution of power within the Natal Indian Congress and the holding of elections. The two sides are on opposite ends of the political spectrum and the negotiations break down. Consequently, the ASC decides to contest every seat in the coming Natal Indian Congress elections. For the first time in the history of South African Indian political movements the name of a woman candidate, Dr. Goonam, is put forward.

February, The Third Broome Commission resumes its work.  This time, Indians unanimously boycott the Commission.  Consequently, the Commission terminates its work and issues an Interim Report, which calls for a Round Table Conference of the Indian and South African Governments, and suggests that Indians be offered some form of parliamentary representation.  It points out, however, that Indians would strenuously reject the idea of communal franchise

February, Largely through the efforts of the Dadoo group the Transvaal Indian Congress passes a resolution of non-co-operation with the Government's plan to segregate Indians by setting aside areas in certain townships within which they could reside and have freehold property rights.

March, At the annual conference of the Johannesburg District Committee of the Communist Party of South Africa, Dadoo is nominated as chairperson.  He declines to stand. The runoff is between Danie du Plessis and Edwin Mofutsanyana, du Plessis is elected as Chairman 

March 18, Dadoo sends an open letter to Natal Indians to choose those leaders for the Natal Indian Congress Executive who stood for 'progressive policies'.

May 8, Suleiman Mahmood Nana, Secretary and leader of the moderate faction of the Transvaal Indian Congress dies of cancer. Dadoo and hundreds of mourners attend his funeral.

May 8, There are no official Government celebrations on V-E Day.  African National Congress and South African Communist Party leaders celebrate the Allied victory over Hitler at a spontaneous gathering in Johannesburg on V - E Day.  The people march through the streets of central Johannesburg gathering at the City Hall steps. Dadoo, Michael Harmel and JB Marks make impromptu speeches at the steps of Johannesburg City Hall. 

June 9, Dadoo reports on the progress of the Anti-Pass Campaign at a mass meeting on Cape Town's Grand Parade.  The campaign fails to reach the target of a million signatures.  After the meeting, Dadoo, R. V.Selope Thema and Moses Kotane lead a procession of over 2 000 people to Parliament to hand an Anti-Pass Petition. Acting Premier, JH Hofmeyr, refuses to see them

August, The radicals are forced to institute judicial proceedings, against the Natal Indian Congress moderates. Monty Naicker, Dr. BT Chetty and A.K.H. Docrat apply to Court for an injunction calling upon the other ninety-six Natal Indian Congress committee members to hold elections before 30 September

September 11, Justice Hathorn finds in favour of the radicals and orders the Natal Indian Congress moderates to hold an annual general meeting no later than 22 October as well as to pay the costs of the applicants.

October 14, Knowing that they would be defeated in the elections the Kajee Group resigns.

October 21, At an Annual General Meeting attended by 7,000, members of the Natal Indian Congress held at Curries Fountain, Durban, radicals are voted into power under Dr Monty Naicker. The resolutions adopted by the meeting instruct the officials to conduct a "vigorous and consistent campaign" for the franchise, repeal of the Pegging Act and the removal of provincial barriers.  They urge the Government to call a Round Table Conference of the Indian and South African Governments and the three Congresses; call for closer co-operation with the African and Coloured organisations; a review of the constitution on a federal basis to give adequate representation to all the centres.  The meeting also expresses support to the Indonesian people in their "gallant struggle to attain national independence against Dutch Imperialism"

November 9, The Natal Indian Congress delegation submits a memorandum to Smuts in which they point out that the Natal Indian Congress has a membership of 20,000 and enjoys a "greater measure of confidence among Indians" than at any time in the past". Departing from the old practice of making conciliatory gestures, the memorandum unequivocally puts forward the demands agreed to at the meeting of 21 October 1945.

December 16, At a Conference of the Transvaal Indian Congress and after nearly seven years of intense struggle Dadoo is elected President with a new Executive which is predominately made up of members of the nationalist group. 

December 27- 30, The Communist Party of South Africa annual conference held in Johannesburg debates whether the Party should support the creation ofBblack trade unions or non- racial unions.  Non-racial unions win the day.  The Party also argued that it did not see any contradiction in supporting ethnic groups being organised separately in their own political formations.

1946

January 21, The NIC decides to launch a nation-wide campaign related to the demands submitted to Smuts

January 22, The NIC sends a cable to the Government of India urging an appeal to the United Nations on behalf of the Indians in South Africa

January 26,Prime Minister J.C. Smuts announces the Government’s intention to introduce new legislation  to replace the Pegging Act prohibiting Indians from purchasing land from non-Indians

February 3, The NIC organises a protest meeting in Durban, against the proposed Bill, at which speakers emphasise the NIC’s resolve to resist the latest threat.  The meeting passes a lengthy resolution describing the proposed Bill as a 'fascist measure", and instructs the NIC to plan mass resistance campaigns, to send delegates to India, America and Europe and to "explore the formation of a world organisation of colonial and oppressed peoples"

February 8-11, Dadoo and Naicker address the 17th session of the SAIC in Cape Town.  During the conference a deputation of sixty Indians call on Prime Minister Smuts urging him to postpone the legislation, pending a round table conference with India. Smuts refuses their request for a Round Table Conference and insists that he will proceed with the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representations Bill. 

A decision to embark on a Passive Resistance Campaign is taken.  The SAIC calls Indians to prepare for 'a concerted and prolonged resistance' against Smut's Ghetto Bill. Passive resistance councils are set up in Natal and the Transvaal.

The Conference decides that Dadoo should not go to India because the Indian National Congress had expelled communists and since the aim is to secure the support of the Indian Legislative Assembly, it would be wrong to include Dadoo, the Communist.  They said that Dadoo should go to America and England to put their case to the ‘common man’

February 20, A Day of Prayer is held.  Most businesses in the main towns of Natal close for half the day.  Despite the threat of job losses, Indian workers in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, down tools for half the day.  A mass meeting in Durban adopts a resistance pledge to fight for the "winning of complete freedom".

March 3, A SAIC deputation, led by Sorabjee Rustomjee, leaves for India to solicit support. The deputation is warmly received by the major political organisations in India, the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the Indian Liberal Federation.  The SAIC delegation meets Gandhi and other leaders in Poona.  The Working Committee of the Indian National Congress declares its full support to the South African Indians in their struggle

March 12, The Viceroy, Lord Wavell, receives the SAIC delegation in Delhi. The Aga Khan, supported by leaders of the Indian National Congress and other prominent Indians, introduces the delegation.  They submit a petition drafted in consultation with Mahatma Gandhi.  The Government of India announces that it will terminate its trade agreement with South Africa.

March 15, Smuts ignoring the groundswell of opposition introduces the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill (Ghetto Bill) in the House of Assembly.  The Bill severely circumscribes where Indians can reside or trade, prohibits land transfers between Indians and non-Indians in Transvaal and Natal, except in ' exempted areas' or with the Minister's consent.  One section dealt with the acquisition of land and occupation and transference of property in Natal and the Transvaal.  A special board, the Asiatic Land Tenure Board was to be set up to deal with these issues.  To sugar the pill, Smuts proposes to allow Indians two White representatives in the Senate, three Whites in the Assembly, and two, who may be Indians, in the Natal Provincial Council.  Nationalists and Dominionites protest angrily that Indians have no claim to any political rights.  The Labour Party caucus agrees to the principle of residential segregation, but not on the franchise clauses, and decides that members should vote according to their conscience.

Dadoo, IC Meer and J. N. Singh, Indian Congress Youth members, undertake a two weeks tourof 15 towns in the Transvaal to inform and educate the community about the Ghetto Bill and to galvanise support in opposition to the Bill for any future action. 

March 17, 5 000 people converge on the Natalspruit Sports Ground to attend a protest meeting against the passing of the Ghetto Act.  Dadoo is the main speaker.

March 18, Dadoo, in a statement, appeals to all NIC members to vote for the candidates of the Anti-Segregation Council against the Kajee-Pather group.  The NIC leadership delays the elections until a court judgement compels it to do so.

Mahatma Gandhi sends a telegram to Field Marshal Smuts, asking him to withdraw the Asiatic Bill.  He also issues a press statement describing the Bill as a challenge to Asia and Africa.

March 24, The SAIC Executive meeting in Cape Town instructs the NIC and the TIC to "proceed immediately to plan and prepare the details of a concerted and prolonged resistance”.  

March 25, Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill begins in the House of Assembly.  The Indian Government terminates the trade agreement signed between the two Governments in 1938.  Following this expression of external support, the Passive Resistance Councils prepares to launch their struggle.   The TIC calls meetings at the Johannesburg City Hall to rally support for Passive Resistance.

 March 30, A Special NIC Provincial Conference held to discuss the Bill unanimously decides to launch a Passive Resistance Campaign against the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill. The Council appoints a 25 member Passive Resistance Council, which issues a manifesto of resistance.  Dadoo opens the Conference setting the tone with an attack on the Bill and a militant call to action.

March 31, The NIC organises a mass meeting to demonstrate their abhorrence of the Bill after which 6 000 demonstrators march through the streets of Durban, shouting, "to Hell with the Ghetto Bill”.  Dr Goonam, HIE Dhlomo (ANC), LA Smith (APO) and a young Fatima Meer also address the meeting

April 7, Students of the Durban Indian Girls' High School, Sastri College and the Natal University College condemn the Bill at a meeting as a "fascist" measure.  They adopted a resolution pledging their support for the NIC.

April 16, Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, Leader of the House in the Central Legislative Assembly of India, announces that the Government of India would bring the oppression of Indians in South Africa before the United Nations.

April 21, At a mass meeting of 7 000 Indians at the Johannesburg City Hall, the TIC sets up theTransvaal Passive Resistance Council with 15 members, under the chairmanship of Dadoo, the TIC President and JN Singh as the Secretary.

May 2, The Indian Government informs the Union Government of its intention to recall its High Commissioner.

May 6, The first Natal Passive Resistance Council meeting is held.  Eleven volunteers meet to plan the passive resistance campaign.  The eleven Council members are: Dr G.M. Naicker, M.D. Naidoo, A.E. Patel, S.V. Reddy, H.A. Seedat, R.G. Pillay, M, P. Naicker, P.B.A. Reddy, M. Moodliar, R.A. Pillay and Debi Singh.  Dr Naicker is elected Chairman of the Council, Debi Singh Secretary, and A.E. Patel Treasurer.

May 11, The first meeting of the Joint Passive Resistance Council of Natal and the Transvaal is held in Durban.  Four representatives of the Transvaal Council attend a joint meeting with the Natal Council.  The Joint Council is composed of five representatives from each of the two Councils.  The Joint Council takes a decision that no resistance camp is established in the Transvaal.

May 23, India asks its High Commissioner in South Africa, Ramrao Madhavrao Deshmukh, to return for consultations.  He sails for India the next day

June 2, The Governor-General signs the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Bill (Ghetto Act) as law.

June 13, The NIC meets at an emergency session in Durban to launch the Passive Resistance Campaign.

The Passive Resistance Council declares this day as “Resistance Day”. The NIC calls upon all offices, shops and factories, and all students, to observe 'a day of Hartal' (mourning) to demonstrate their abhorrence and rejection of the "Ghetto Act".  The response was overwhelming. "Resistance Day" culminates in a mass meeting of over 15 000 people, at Red Square, Durban.   After the meeting a procession follows Monty Naicker and MD Naidoo to the comer of Gale Street and Umbilo Road, where 17 resisters pitch five tents on a piece of vacant municipal land in defiance of the "Ghetto Act".  The resisters include four women from Johannesburg who had earlier contravened the law by entering Natal without a permit.  They are Miss Zainab Asvat, Miss Zohra Bhayat, Mrs. Amina Pahad, and Mrs Zubeida Patel.  The other women were MS Nayagar, Chella Pillay, Mrs PK Naidoo, Lutchmee Govender, Veeramah Pather and Jamila Bhabha.

White hooligans viciously attack the resisters and other Indians. Tents are pulled down and burnt; Indian women are molested, passing cars are stoned and some stationary ones are set alight.

June 13, Dadoo addresses a rally of over 5 000 people, from all over the Transvaal urging them to voice their opposition to the Ghetto Bill, at the Indian Sports Ground in Johannesburg.  A Passive Resistance Council is set up in the Transvaal to co-ordinate the volunteers in the Province. 

June 18, IC Meer informs Dadoo of the situation in Durban and of attacks by white hooligans on the passive resisters.  Yusuf Cachalia drives Dadoo, Rev. Michael Scott, Bettie du Toit to Durban to participate in the Passive Resistance to Durban on this day to assess the situation and to strategise.  The attacks by white hooligans increase with renewed ferocity on the evening of 18 and 19 June.  On both occasions, the police stood by neither restraining the attackers nor protecting the victims. In the period from 13 June 1946 to 13 May 1947, 1 710 people, among them 279 women, were arrested, 215 for the second time. The resisters are charged under the Trespassing Act instead of under the Ghetto Bill – an attempt to draw attention away from the issue.

June 19, The Reverend Michael Scott leads a batch of volunteers to the resisters’ camp.  He is arrested and charged on four counts of trespass and one of riotous assembly.  The Reverend receives a three month sentence in Durban Prison.

June 20, A group of Indian women meet in Durban to form the Women’s Action Committee to assist in the struggle.  This committee holds a highly successful ‘Freedom Fair’ at Curries Fountain.

In the Transvaal, the Passive Resister, the official organ of the passive resistance movement, is issued.  The Transvaal Council mobilises hundreds of resisters and raises thousands of pounds for the Campaign.

The ANC, Cape, Provincial Conference of June 1946 adopts a resolution supporting the Indian Passive Resistance Campaign, undertaking to raise funds for it in solidarity. 

The Cape Passive Resistance Council is set up under the guidance of Mrs Z Gool, Sundra Pillay, Cassim Amra and others, which is independent of the Cape Indian Congress.  Sundra Pillay is elected Chairman, Cassim Amra, Secretary, and Yusuf Motala as Treasurer.

June 21, Dadoo, Monty Naicker, MD Naidoo and the other resisters are arrested under the Riotous Assemblies Act for the major roles they played in the Passive Resistance. Dadoo is the first person sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour without an option of a fine.  He pleads guilty in court but makes his position clear:  He is imprisoned in Newcastle.  Zainab Asvat and Mrs Jamila Bhabha, from the Transvaal, are also arrested.  Dr Naicker and MD Naidoo receive six-month sentences on this day, the longest sentence imposed on any passive resister.

June 24, The first martyr of the Passive Resistance Campaign, is an Indian plain-clothes policeman, Krishensamy Pillay, killed as a result of European hooligans assaulting him.

June 26, India recalls its High Commissioner from South Africa and imposes trade sanctions against South Africa.

June 27, Although on trial, for his role in the passive resistance campaign, Dadoo makes a statement in court.

June 29, The ANC, at a meeting in Langa assures the Indian passive resisters of their support.  The conference agrees to assist the Indians in their struggle for democratic rights. Dr RT Bokwe, who presides over the meeting, opens a fund with a donation of £10

June 30, The East London Indian Congress forms the East London Passive Resistance Council with Dr NV Appavoo as Chairman and Miss D Jonathan and R Harry as joint secretaries.  This Council contributes £300 to the Natal Council funds.

July, IC Meer publishes and edits the Passive Resister and Bobby Naidoo edits a daily bulletin called the Flash.

July, The Port Elizabeth branch of the Cape Indian Congress sets up a Passive Resistance Council in Port Elizabeth with MM Desai as Chairman, VK Moodley as Secretary and Dr SV Appavoo as Treasurer.  This Council sends four resisters and contributes £600 to the Natal Council funds.

The thrust for unity is most powerful in the Transvaal.  Dr AB Xuma, JB Marks, A Malima, D Tloome, D Bopape, CS Ramohanoe, J Mpama, ET Mofutsanyana, and others not only speak about unity but also in their daily lives and activities to demonstrate its efficacy.

July 10, Ashwin Choudree, one of the first Indian lawyers to qualify locally, leaves for the USA as a delegate of the Joint Passive Resistance Council to publicise the passive resistance struggle and to inform the American public of the injustice of colour bar laws, the Ghetto Act and to advise the Indian delegation at the UN.

July 19, At a meeting of Coloured people in Durban, the APO passes a resolution in support of Passive Resistance.  

August 12, JB Marks, leader of the African Mineworkers Union (AMWU), leads 100,000 mineworkers on strike for higher wages and better working conditions.

Marks, along with other AMWU officials are arrested.

August 13, The first batch of 12 Cape resisters, which include three women led by Mrs Gool, is arrested and sentenced in Durban

August 13, Members of the Johannesburg District Committee of the CPSA, Dadoo among them, are arrested.  He is brought from Newcastle Prison where he is serving his sentence for his part in the Passive Resistance Campaign, to the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court to face charges of “conspiring to assist the legal strike”. 

August 16, The police raid the Party's offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg during the strike.  Ten days later a preparatory examination is opened in Johannesburg against forty-seven men and five women, charged under the Riotous Assemblies Act and War Measures Act.  It is the biggest political trial since 1922 and the most representative in the country's history.  The accused include 31 Africans, 11 whites, 6 Indians, 3 Coloured and 1 Chinese person.  At least twenty-nine of the charged persons are Communists, among them Moses Kotane, the Party's General Secretary, Danie du Plessis, Secretary of the Johannesburg District Committee, and the other ten whites on trial.  One is advocate Bram Fischer, grandson of the first Prime Minister of the Orange Free State.  The Africans include J. B. Marks and J. J. Majoro of the African Miners' Union; Gilbert Coka and sixteen other members of the African National Congress.

August 27, Nagin Hargovan provides rent-free premises in Agnes Road to open a canteen for Passive Resisters.  Indian merchants and farmers generously provide produce for meals to serve to those released from prison and those who had lost their jobs on account of participating in the passive resistance campaign.

August 31, The Joint Passive Resistance Council passes a resolution congratulating “the gallant and heroic “miners.

September 16, Kotane and five other accused are discharged.  The remaining forty-six, having pleaded guilty to aiding an illegal strike, are fined £15 or £50, half of which was suspended.

September 21, The Police acting on instructions from Harry Lawrence, the Minister of Justice, swoop down on radicals in the six towns around the country and remove papers, letters, pamphlets and books.  It is the biggest police raid to date and extends to private homes as well as to the offices of left-wing trade unions, the Springbok Legion, the Guardian, the Central and District Committees of the Communist Party.

September 26, Dadoo is released from prison for his role in the Passive Resistance Campaign.  Ilse and his little daughter Shireen, along with a mass of supporters are at the prison to welcome him, while he makes astatement.

September 29, A massive welcome home rally is held in Johannesburg, for Dadoo and his co-accused Zainab Asvat and the Reverend Michael Scott.  Dr Xuma and Moses Kotane welcome them.  Later Dadoo proceeds to the New Town Market Square, where a large crowd, pledge their support for the Anti-Pass Campaign and the Passive Resistance Campaign, welcome him, while he makes a statement.

October 20, Over 12,000 people from all parts of the Province unanimously adopt the candidates’ list submitted by the radicals under the banner of the Democratic Congress Action Committee.  A mass meeting at the Indian Sports Ground re-elects Dadoo as President of the TIC.  For the first time women, Zainab Asvat, Mrs Suriakala Patel and Mrs PK Naidoo, are elected onto the executive of the TIC.  The new executive of the TIC is the most representative of Transvaal Indians to date.

November, Natal Indians press for immediate economic sanctions, the withdrawal of India's High Commissioner and an appeal to the United Nations.  An SAIC delegation leaves for the UN.  The SAIC delegation includes Sorabjee Rustomjee, Dr Xuma and HA Naidoo.  The Indian Government under Nehru recalls its High Commissioner, cuts off trade relations with South Africa and indicts its racial policies before the General Assembly of the UN.  Smuts argues that the position of Indians is a purely domestic affair; but his critics, led by Mrs Pandit and Alexei Vyshinsky, carry the day.  An overwhelming majority of the Assembly demand that the treatment of Indians should conform to the agreements between India and South Africa and to the relevant clauses of the Charter.  White South Africa suffers a serious moral defeat.  The South African national liberation can claim its first significant victory in the long struggle to arouse world opinion against white supremacy.

November 24, Dr Naicker and MD Naidoo are released from prison for their participation in the Passive Resistance Campaign.  A huge welcome rally is held for them in Durban at the Red Square.  Dadoo attends this rally.

December 14 - 17, At its annual Conference, the ANC hails the UN General Assembly decision to condemn the treatment of the Indians in South Africa.  The Conference pays “tribute to the gallant men and women of the Indian community and their leaders in the Passive Resistance struggle.  The Conference instructs the NEC to consider the possibilities of closer cooperation with the national organisations of other non-Europeans in the common struggle.

1947

January 3 - 5, At the annual conference in Johannesburg, the CPSA calls for the establishing of a fighting alliance and endorses the ANC boycott call of all elections under the Representation of Natives Act of 1936.

February 9, Sorabjee Rustomjee returns to South Africa from India, which he visited as part of the SAIC delegation.  Pandit Nehru advises the Delegation, “The struggle in South Africa is .... not merely an Indian struggle....It concerns ultimately the Africans who have suffered much discrimination and oppression”.  Indians in South Africa should co-operate with the African people”.

February 9, Dr Xuma, upon his return from the UN, addresses a mass meeting at Red Square, Durban, to bid farewell to Dadoo and Naicker, who were soon to depart to India  

March 9, Dr Monty Naicker (NIC), Dr Yusuf Dadoo (TIC) and Dr AB Xuma sign the Doctors Pact, a joint declaration of co-operation between the Congresses.

March 10, Dadoo and Naicker are given a farewell at a packed meeting at Gandhi Hall, Johannesburg prior to their departure for India.

March 11, Dadoo and Naicker leave for India on a tour that would last over two-months. Prior to the signing of the Pact, the NIC and the TIC decided that Dadoo and Naicker will tour India and hold talks with Nehru, Gandhi and other Indian leaders on the issue of the South African Indians, their case at the United Nations and the possibility of Round Table Talks between India and South Africa.

It was originally decided that the two leaders would leave for India in February. Matters had been held up when the Smuts Government confiscated their certificates of identification and passports.  The refusal of passports to Dadoo and Naicker provokes an international protest, with Gandhi adding his voice.  The government relents and issues passports to the two.  The TIC and NIC launches a massive campaign to protest the confiscations and subsequent refusal of passports.  Legal counsel for Dadoo and Naicker prove that the certificates of identification had been illegally impounded and that the refusal to grant passports unwarranted.  The Immigration Department is forced to return the identification documents and passports.

March 14, Dadoo and Naicker arrive in Karachi where the Mayor meets them.  They address a press conference, then travel to Sindh where they address a large open air meeting presided over by Durga Thakkar, Secretary of the Sindh Provincial Congress.  Here a resolution is passed condemning South Africa’s racial policies.  They then attend a session of the Sindh Legislative Assembly

March 23, Dadoo and Naicker attend the Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi.  They travel to Patna in Bihar Province where they update Gandhi on the situation within the Passive Resistance Councils in South Africa.  They also meet Ali Jinnah from Pakistan, in Delhi, who gives a message of support to the struggle in South Africa.

May 27, Dadoo and Naicker return from their two-month tour of India.  Later, they attend a meeting at Gandhi Hall and report on their Indian tour.

May 28, An organisation calling itself The South African Protection Movement is set up in Pretoria.  It is responsible for boycotting Indian traders in the Transvaal. The shortage of grain bags in South Africa, resulting from the Indian Government’s trade embargo, is a pretext for the boycott.  The CPSA comes out in support of Indian traders and calls on the Government to curb the inciters of the boycott.  Dadoo refers to the boycott as “Government inspired intimidation” and congratulates the Indian merchants for bravely facing the onslaught.

June 13, Huge rallies are held in Johannesburg and Durban to mark the first anniversary of the Passive Resistance Council.

July 29, Anton Lembede dies at Coronation Hospital, Johannesburg.

August 3, Dadoo is one of the speakers at Lembede’s funeral held at the Croesus Cemetery.

August 15, At a TIC meeting to commemorate the birth of India and Pakistan, Dadoo wishes the two countries well.

August 24, TIC elections held at the Coloured Sports Ground sees Dadoo elected by an overwhelming victory as President.

December, The Transvaal Indian Youth Volunteer Corps, formed in 1945, becomes the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress.  Zainab Asvat is the Chairperson.

1948

January, The Communist Party, at its annual conference decides to support candidates in to the Native Representative Council who pledge to work for universal franchise.  Edwin Mofutsanyana, Alpheus Maliba and A S. Damana would represent the Party in the NRC elections. The conference also demands the withdrawal of criminal charges then pending against members of the Central Executive as a direct consequence of the strike by African miners in 1946.

Dadoo addresses a public meeting in Johannesburg to welcome Mr. Sorabjee Rustomjee, delegate of the Joint Passive Resistance Council, on his return from the United Nations.  He calls for a national convention to campaign for a programme of democracy for all.

January 18, Dadoo addresses a mass meeting at Durban’s Red Square on the PRC’s plans to defy the Immigrations Regulations Act of 1913, which prohibits Indians from crossing provincial borders without permits.  Formal notification that Indians were going to defy this Act and cross from Natal into the Transvaal is sent to the Prime Minister but there was no reply from him.

January 25, RA Pillay and R Mahabeer lead 15 resisters from Durban to begin the second phase of passive resistance.  They travel to Pietermaritzburg and from there to Ladysmith and then continue to Charlestown. IC Meer and other resisters led by Dadoo wait at Charlestown.  The resisters cross over the border from Natal into the Transvaal in defiance of the 1913 Immigrants Regulation Act.  Dadoo and Meer decide the next thing to do is for the resisters to get to Fordsburg and a pitch tent at the corner of Lovers Walk and Avenue Road.  Dadoo welcomes the group at Johannesburg’s Red Square where a meeting is held in their honour.

The Durban resisters pitch their tent at an identified plot.  The police ignore the resisters; instead they arrest Dadoo and Naicker. They are charged for aiding and abetting the resisters. After two weeks the police arrest the resisters. They are found guilty and given suspended sentences on condition they do not contravene the Immigration Act again.

February 26, Dadoo and Naicker appear in court on charges  of aiding and abetting Asiatic persons in entering the province of the Transvaal from Natal knowing that the said persons were prohibited under the Immigrants Regulation Act of 1913.

February 29, Dadoo, Naicker, Manilal Gandhi and Sundra Pillay are each sentenced to six months imprisonment for their call to Indians to defy the Immigrations Act. Dadoo issues a statement at a meeting in Johannesburg on the eve of his imprisonment.

March 3, The two doctors appear in court where they plead guilty to crossing the Provincial border in defiance of the Act.  They explain that their reason for doing is a refusal to submit to unjust and undemocratic laws.  Both receive six months imprisonment with hard labour.  Dadoo and Naicker receive sentences of six months imprisonment in Pietermaritzburg and Durban respectively.

March, The CPSA holds its Johannesburg District Committee meeting.  Dadoo is elected Chairman in absentia.  The Party writes to the Minister of Justice objecting to the imprisonment of Dadoo and Naicker

March, Bill Andrews leads the CPSA in celebrating the one hundredth year anniversary of the Communist Manifesto in Cape Town.

March 25, Dr Goonam leads her batch of resisters across the Natal border to the Fordsburg “Resistance Plot”. They are arrested and sentenced to six months imprisonment

April 11, Manilal Gandhi and his batch of resisters cross the border.  Gandhi the leader is not arrested, but his followers are arrested and sentenced to imprisonment.

May, The Reverend Michael Scott opens a convention for Votes for All in Johannesburg.  The Assembly calls for the right of all adult men and women of all races in South Africa to be elected to all the representative bodies.

June, DF Malan becomes the Prime Minister of South Africa in the all White general elections.  Some members of the NIC Executive send Malan a letter of congratulations and inform him that they are calling off the Passive Resistance Campaign.  The message causes confusion and conflict and is repudiated at a full working committee meeting of the NIC.

July 10, Dadoo and Naicker are released from prison after serving four and a half months of their sentence for contravening the Immigrations Regulations Act of 1913.  The NIC take the two leaders to a reception at the People’s Square in Pietermaritzburg.  Naicker makes his way to Durban where he addresses over a 1000 people. Dadoo makes his way by train to Johannesburg where he is welcomed by hundreds of loyal supporters.  He is taken to Red Square where he addresses a Transvaal Passive Resistance Council meeting.

July, Dadoo and Naicker make a joint appeal to all "suppressed" people in South Africa, whether European or Non-European, to form a United Front to fight for full democratic rights, at a meeting in Cape Town.

August, NIC officials, Monty Naicker, SV Reddy, MD Naidoo and Green, are charged with aiding and abetting the resisters. The Magistrate lets all of them off with the exception of Green who is sentenced to four months imprisonment.

October -November, The SAIC sends Dadoo as its ambassador overseas for almost a year before he returns via India.

Dadoo passes through Immigration when the Immigration Office impounds his passport.  Molvi Cachalia and Nanabhai arrange a chartered company, Mercury Airline to fly him to London. Goolam Pahad and Molvi Cachalia sign an indemnity for £100 000 for any damages that may accrue to the company for not being able to land in London.

He meets Krishna Menon, the head of the India League and at the time the first High Commissioner for Indian interim government as well as Bridgett Tunnard, the Secretary of the India League.

Cassim Jadwat, a South African studying in London, assists Dadoo to establish offices at the India League premises.

The Indian Government together with other governments takes up his case at the United Nations that he be allowed to enter France to attend the United Nations session. The French government is adamant and does not allow Dadoo to come to France.  Dadoo and Cassim Jadwat prepare literature in London.  Jadwat lobbys the various UN member states at their Paris Assembly to put their case before them to be taken up with the United Nations. Since Dadoo has not received a visa from the French government to go to Paris for the UN General Assembly, CS Jha, the Secretary-General of India's delegation to the Assembly, make a special visit to London in the first week of December 1948 to hold lengthy discussions with him.  

The Indian League organises meetings in Scotland, Wales and England and at universities which Dadoo addresses during this period.

Dadoo arranges for Paul Robson, the singer who is giving a concert in London, to address a meeting with him. Hundreds of people had to be turned away owing to a lack of space in the hall.

Dadoo responds to Eric Louw’s, the chief South African delegate to the UN, speech to the Foreign Press Association.

He travels with Harry Pollitt of the British Communist Party to the fifth conference of the Polish Workers’ Party where Dadoo meets various delegations from Latin America and Asia. Dadoo is the only person from Africa at the Conference.  

Dadoo is taken to visit a Turkish community.  He addresses the community through an interpreter and allays their fears, as a Muslim community, of a Communist Government.

Dadoo attends the Fifth Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party where he meets Georgi Dimitrov also of the Bulgarian Communist Party.

From Sofia, Poland, he travels to London to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference where he meets Jawaharlal Nehru, and Pakistan's Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. At the Conference, Dadoo lobbies the Canadian and New Zealand Prime Ministers.  They listen to him and say that there is only so much that they can do.

From London, Dadoo travels in Nehru's plane to India where the Indian government issues him a travel document to return to South Africa.

1949

January 13, Riots break out between Africans and Indian after a minor altercation between two youngsters turns nasty when the father assaulted the African boy. This incident resulted in a wave of violence, starting at the Indian market. It soon spread throughout the suburbs of Durban and by Wednesday, January 19, it reached Pietermaritzburg.

Members of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) Executive Committee meet at the NIC offices, in Lakhani Chambers, Saville Street.  Throughout the night, Debi Singh, IC Meer, and other Natal Indian Congress officials work, as Cato Manor goes up in flames.  They provide relief in many different fields. Thousands of Indians leave their homes and take refuge in camps organised by NIC officials as rioting spreads from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.  

Natal Indian Congress officials contact AWG Champion, President of the Natal African National Congress and together they patrol Victoria, Queen, Grey, Pine Streets and the Berea Road station complex, in a van with a loudspeaker.  They address the workers in Zulu and English calling upon them to return home.  They do not see a single policeman.

Altogether 142 people died (87 Africans, 50 Indians, 1 white, and 4 unclassified). A further 1,087 persons are injured - 541 Africans, 503 Indians, 32 whites and 11 Coloureds. Buildings which are completely destroyed in the riots include 247 houses, 58 shops and one factory, while other properties that are damaged number one thousand houses, over six hundred shops and two factories.

RT Chari from the Indian High Commissioner’s office sees the rioting in Clairwood as he returns from Port Shepstone.  He comes straight to the Natal Indian Congress office to help.  He keeps India informed of developments as they unfold. 

January 20, The African National Congress Working Committee issues a statement on the Durban Riots signed by Dr Xuma.

January 25, Dr. Dadoo holds a press conference in London, at which he deals with the features and causes of the recent Durban massacre.  He places the main responsibility for the situation on the shoulders of the Government of Dr. Malan and the Nationalist Party. 

February 6, Three weeks after the riots commence the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress meet, at the International Club in Durban and form a joint council of the two bodies. The joint council is the forerunner of the Congress Alliance which launches the 1952 Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign in which Africans, Indians, Coloureds and whites went to prison in opposition to the policies of apartheid and segregation.

The Joint Council of the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress brief an advocate, Dr Lowen, to appear before the van den Heever Riot Commission on its behalf."  Ground work for the formation of a Joint Council had gone on for some years, even before the Dadoo-Naicker-Xuma Pact of 1947.

February 17, DF Malan appoints a Judicial Commission of three members, Justice FP Van den Heever of the Appeal Court, Ryle Masson and HFW Schulz, Chief Magistrates of Johannesburg and Durban to inquire into the riots. The Commission commences its work on this day.

IC Meer is given the responsibility of preparing the brief for Dr Lowen.  From newspaper reports it is becoming abundantly clear that there is an official conspiracy to portray Indians as black marketers and dishonest traders exploiting the Natives and thus deserving their wrath.

Meer enlists the assistance of Molvi Cachalia of the Transvaal Indian Congress who has much experience in preparing affidavits of this nature.  He travels to Durban from Johannesburg with Ahmed Kathrada.   

Senior advocate, Dr G Lowen from Johannesburg, jointly represents the Natal Indian Congress and the African National Congress at this Commission. After the Commission refuses Dr Lowen's application for the right to cross-examine witnesses, the Congresses withdraw from the hearing but the NIO continues to be present. The Natal Indian Organisation's Commission sub-committee is under the chairmanship of MEG Paruk.  PR Pather, AS Kajee and SR Naidoo are among those who represent the Organisation

Outlining the case of the Congresses, Dr Lowen points out that the right to cross-examine is vital because "we want to prove that the horrible slum conditions of Indians and Africans are at the bottom of the riots to a certain extent."   He plans to call high-level government and police officials as witnesses.  Despite his plea, the Commission rules against cross-examination 

Dr Lowen, withdraws from the Commission. Major C Cowley, representing the combined Native Advisory Boards in Durban, follows Dr Lowen and his clients, and withdraws from the proceedings.

Maurice Webb, Dr Edgar Brookes and the Reverend Sibiya from Dannhauser representing the South African Institute of Race Relations, remain and lead evidence blaming white attitudes to Indians for what has happened.

The evidence given by Dhanee Bramdaw, editor of The Leader, in a memorandum presented to the Commission, is published in the front page of The Leader of March 19, 1949.

The Natal Indian Congress brought order and confidence among the victims. Congress leaders were virtually living in the refugee camps. Not only did the Joint Council of the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress emerge from the ashes of the riots but also during the riots there was much co-operation between the Natal Indian Congress and the African leadership in Natal. The Natal Indian Congress organised joint Indian - African nursing staff to give valuable services in the refugee camps.   

March 2, Sarojini Naidu, former president of the South African Indian Congress, passes away at Lucknow, India.  Dr VG Patel, PS Joshi, Yusuf Cachalia, and N Thandry, among others, address a memorial meeting held at the Gandhi Hall in Johannesburg.

March, Molvi IA Cachalia and MD Naidoo arrive in India as accredited representatives of the South African Indian Congress.  They had already met India's Prime Minister Nehru and were in Karachi to meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, in order to acquaint him "of the full facts of the Indian question in the Union."

April, The All Africa Convention calls upon the African National Congress to support the policy of non-collaboration with the Government during their joint National Executive Committee meeting.

April 16, Three months after the Durban riots the Van den Heever Commission issued its report. The Natal Daily News described it as a document full of illogicalities and contradictions. "We do not think," the paper, commented, "it can be taken as justly reflecting the quality either of our magistracy or judiciary or the capabilities of the members themselves. The statement is more ideological than judicial in tone."

The Van den Heever Commission’s report receives wide condemnation from different sources, with The Natal Mercury claiming that the report was "a profoundly disappointing document."

The South African Indian Congress issues a statement criticising the Commission's Report and drawing attention to numerous contradictions in it, stating that all true democrats will reject the Commission's finding that Africans were "keen supporters of segregation."  The South African Indian Congress said that the Commission has failed to give the country a lead which it urgently requires. "Its solitary recommendation that the Immorality Act should be extended sidetracks the big and urgent issues and gives the whole report a wrong perspective."

June, The Natal Indian Congress holds its annual conference in Durban. Dr Edgar Brookes opened the proceedings. H Selby Msimang delivered a message of solidarity from the African people.  At the Conference, a resolution moved by JN Singh and seconded by AI Meer, welcomes the UN General Assembly resolution of May 1949 inviting India, Pakistan and South Africa to meet to discuss the treatment of Indians in South Africa.

In its resolution on apartheid, the Natal Indian Congress calls for a united front of all the oppressed and white democrats. The Conference re-elects Dr Naicker as the President and Debi Singh as the General Secretary of the Natal Indian Congress.   

October, Dadoo returns to South Africa, armed with his own document proving that he is a South African and thus entitled to be back in the country of his birth which domicile he has not lost. A welcome rally is held for him at Market Square in Johannesburg.  The next day he addresses his supporters at Red Square. A week later, he is given a rousing welcome in Durban on October 23, 1949, when he outlined his work overseas.

October, Dadoo and Sam Khan (SA’s first Communist elected in 1943 under the Native Representation Act) are banned from speaking in eight cities around South Africa.

November, Naomi Shapiro after reading Die Burger, an Afrikaans language newspaper informs Dadoo of a Government ban on him against appearing at public meetings.

December 13, At a mass meeting convened in Johannesburg, the Transvaal Indian Congress, African National Congress, Communist Party of South Africa, Johannesburg District and the African People’s Organisation condemns the ban on Dadoo.

December 17, The African National Congress Conference in Bloemfontein adopts a Programme of Action to achieve national freedom.

 

Last updated : 19-Sep-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 31-Mar-2011