Yusuf Dadoo Timeline: 1970 - 1979

1970

Early in 1970, the South African Communist Party (SACP) convenes a special meeting.  Apart from members of the Central Committee, leading activists of the Party, including MK cadres who experienced armed confrontation in Zimbabwe in the 1967 -1968 period also attend the meeting.  Dadoo plays an important role in helping to organise the meeting as well as in the preparations of the draft documents.

The meeting, Dadoo recalls is equally singular in its identification of the strategic task facing the liberation alliance, namely, mass political mobilisation, the reconstruction and strengthening of the underground structures in the wake of the Rivonia setbacks and the all-round preparations for the launching of armed actions inside the country.

June, The South African Communist Party holds its Central Committee (CC) Meeting in Moscow. It is claimed that this meeting was as important for the Party as Morogoro was for the African National Congress.  The meeting centres on discussions to rebuild the Party inside South Africa and to reintegrate Party members abroad into organisational structures.

1971

Revival of the Natal Indian Congress in South Africa.

1972

August 11, Dadoo delivers a speech at the funeral of J. B. Marks at Novodovichy cemetery in Moscow.

November, Following the death of J.B. Marks, Dadoo is elected South African Communist Party Chairman at a Central Committee meeting in the German Democratic Republic.  Chris Hani is elected to the newly formed post of Assistant General Secretary.

1973

October, The South African Communist Party holds its first Central Committee meeting in Moscow since Dadoo becomes Chairman.  In a lengthy report, he comments that South Africans have been resisting apartheid admirably; he points to the industrial action and strikes, which has seen the participation of thousands of workers and communities who staunchly oppose removals and resettlement orders. 

January 20, Dadoo issues a statement on the passing of Amilcar Cabral entitled, "Amilcar Cabral - Outstanding Leader Of African Liberation Movement." January 26, Dadoo issues a statement on behalf of the SACP for the Vietnam Workers' Party applauding their resistance as an event of "immense world-historical significance."

1974

Dadoo is confronted with the Indian South African situation.  In their bid to negotiate with the Government, the South African Indian Council (SAIC) sends two representatives, JN Reddy and MB Naidoo to India to seek the lifting of trade sanctions against South Africa. Dadoo immediately issues a statement to Indians in South Africa.  He calls the Council a "bogus body" run by people handpicked by the Government rather than democratically elected by members of the community.  He adds that the members of the Council are living "in a fool's paradise" if they believe they can influence India to turn its support away from the oppressed masses.  Indian South African had a proud record of resistance to stooge bodies and to discrimination and segregation. Reddy and Naidoo were unsuccessful in their quest, having managed to get the attention of only three Indian journalists.

June 24, Dadoo speaks at the funeral of Michael Harmel in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

December 16, Dadoo speaks at the laying of the memorial stone at the grave of JB Marks at Norodevichye Cemetery, Moscow.

1975

June, Dadoo pays tribute to Moses Kotane on his seventieth birthday.

November, At the invitation of the Congolese Workers Party (CWP), Dadoo leads a South African Communist Party delegation to People's Republic of Congo where he holds discussions with the leader of the CWP and Head of State, Marien N'Gouabi. This is the first time that the South African Communist Party has been invited to official talks with any ruling party in Africa.

1976

February 4 - 8, Dadoo attends the 22nd Congress of the French Communist Party.  

June, Dadoo speaking on the June 16 uprising, says, "The tide of indignation and protest among long suffering people of South Africa set off by the heroic revolt in Soweto, may be regarded as one of the greatest acts of resistance in the history of anti-colonial, anti-imperialist and anti-racist battles in South Africa."

December, Dadoo represents the SACP at the fourth National Conference, of the Vietnamese Workers Party, which he addresses.  From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, he is received with great warmth and comradeship, with the Vietnamese consistently expressing solidarity with the South African revolutionary struggle and support for the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party.

December, Dadoo visits Luanda, Angola.

1977

April, At its Central Committee meeting in the German Democratic Republic, the SACP adopts a document, "The Way Forward from Soweto," which stresses that the events in Soweto closed the debate about armed struggle but that the events themselves could not have been transformed into a successful general armed uprising even if adequate weapons had been available.   Dadoo together with Brian Bunting from London, Joe Slovo (Luanda), Moses Mabhida (Maputo), Ray Simons and Dan Tloome (Lusaka) attend this meeting.

The Party undergoes various structural reforms at this meeting.  People who have recently left South Africa are elected to the Central Committee.  The Executive Secretariat, operating from London, is replaced by a Politburo with headquarters in Luanda.  Sub-committees of the Politburo are to be set up in London, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland.  Dadoo heads the London Sub-Committee and all the international affairs of the South African Communist Party are conducted from London.  All of the Party's financial matters become the responsibility of Dadoo and Slovo.

May 8, Dadoo pays tribute to MP Naicker at his funeral.  Naicker passes away while on his way from London to Berlin on April 29, 1977.

Dadoo was a member of the World Peace Council delegation that presented the Julio-Curie Medal to Augustinho Neto of Angola.

1978

January 12, Dadoo's close friend and colleague, G.M. Naicker passes away. In his tribute to his "close associate and comrade-in-arms," Dadoo refers to Naicker as “the greatest leader that the Indian community has produced since the time of Gandhiji.”

April 8, Dadoo issues a telegram to E.S. Reddy, the Director of the Centre Against Apartheid in the United Nations, requesting recognition of Paul Robeson's 80th birthday.

May 19, Moses Kotane passes away in Moscow.

May 26, Dadoo delivers a tribute to Moses Kotane at the Novodevichye Cemetery, Moscow. Moses Mabhida is elected as General Secretary to replace Kotane.

In recognition of the pioneering role played by South African Communists on the African continent, Dadoo is accorded the honour of opening the historic first meeting of the Communist Worker's Parties of Tropical and Southern Africa.

September, Dadoo and Alfred Nzo attend the International Conference in solidarity with the struggle of the African and Arab people held in Ethiopia.

Dadoo sends a message to the Hindu community to mark Diwali celebrations and to the Muslim community celebrating Eid or more relevantly to stress the need for the Indian community, in South Africa, to reject PW Botha's plans for a tri-cameral Parliament which advocates the setting up of a three tier Parliament for Coloureds, Indians and Whites.  His message refers to Diwali and Eid al-Ftr as, "noble events which express the triumph of good over evil, of selfless sacrifice of freedom and peace and brotherhood." 

1979

March, Dadoo represents the African National Congress at an emergency International Conference in Support of Vietnam, held in Helsinki, under the auspices of the World Peace Council.

May, Dadoo leads an official South African Communist Party delegation to Hungary where he meets Janos Kadar, First Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party (HSWP).  The two Parties exchange agendas and issue a joint communiqué pledging their dedication to work towards the "strengthening of the world Communism on the basis of proletarian internationalism and to deepen bilateral relations."

June, IC Meer visits London where he attends a Musharia (a gathering of Urdu ports) with Dadoo. Meer received his passport, restricted to Britain, on 17 October 1978. He is particularly concerned about divisions in the Indian community regarding participation in the elections for the South African Indian Council

What is worrying for Dadoo is a certain faction of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) made up of Pravin Gordhan, Krish Govender and Yunus Mohammed who advocate that participation in the Council has its merits.

Ismail Meer and Amina Cachalia meet Dadoo and give him a firsthand account of what is happening.   Dadoo asks that a message be taken back to the Indian community from him urging that stooge bodies be given no support.

In determining appropriate tactics a potentially disastrous controversy erupts within the ranks of the anti-SA Indian Council forces in Natal. Two distinct positions emerged - one side called for a total rejection and boycott of the elections whilst the other side argued that participation based on rejection was most appropriate.

The NIC leadership, including stalwarts such as George Sewpersad and MJ Naidoo, defended the former position.

These differences threatened the unity of the progressive organisations and people and the conducting of a well-organised anti-SAIC campaign.

Dadoo, in his 70th year, was deeply disturbed by the divisions and public invective, which he was convinced, would have disastrous consequences for the progressive forces as well as for the people.

Dadoo invites Meer to a meeting of representatives from South Africa with a view to resolving their differences regarding participation, or not, in the South African Indian Council. Thumba Pillay, Pravin Gordhan and Roy Padayachie travel to London to consult Dadoo and the ANC on this very serious issue.  Dadoo brings Mac Maharaj (who served twelve years on Robben Island and is exiled in Zambia) and Aziz Pahad based in London to this meeting.

The meeting is preceded by days of discussions held separately by Mac with representatives of both viewpoints. Dadoo brings the two factions together in order to commit the different viewpoints to uniting the people in action.

September, Dadoo turns 70 years old. Zainab Asvat, exiled in London, organises a huge party for Dadoo, inviting as many friends and colleagues as possible.  This is also the centenary year of the Battle of Isitwalandwe where King Cetshwayo and his army were defeated by the British army. The ANC holds a commemoration meeting and asks him to deliver the main address. In his speech, Dadoo pays tribute to not only the heroic warriors of that and other battles but also the present day warriors.

Dadoo is inundated with tributes and birthday wishes from all over the world and awarded various medals and accolades of honour.  He is awarded: the Order of Dimitrov of Bulgaria, the Order of Karl Marx by the German Democratic Republic, the Order of the Friendship of the People by the Soviet Union, the Gold Medal of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity organisation, the Scroll of Honour of het World Peace Council, the Decoration of the Hungarian Peace Movement and the Wielki Proletariat of Poland.

Sechaba, the official publication of the African National Congress pays a special tribute to Dadoo by publishing a special report on his contribution to the South African struggle.   The report describes him as having brought together the Indian and African communities in South Africa, citing that it had been, "no easy task in those days."  It also states that Dadoo, "a fervent upholder of proletarian internationalism, displayed qualities of, fearlessness, courage, determination, non-racism, unity in action and internationalism."

October 11, Dadoo submits a report to the UN Special Committee, in New York, in which he raises the plight of political prisoners in South Africa asking that the UN demand their release.  Failing this, he calls for the intensification of international campaigns for the freeing of political prisoners; a demand for the ending of torture and a granting of prisoner of war status to all captured combatants according to the Geneva Convention.

 

Last updated : 30-Oct-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 04-Apr-2011

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