Speech At Mass Welcome Meeting In Johannesburg On Release From Prison,  September 29, 1946

(The following is the speech by Dr. Dadoo at a huge meeting held to welcome recently released passive resisters, including Dr. YusufM. Dadoo, Miss Zainab Asvat and the Reverend Michael Scott.)

Our struggle against racial discrimination is winning widespread support among all communities in this country.

Great South African European patriots like Rev. Scott and Miss Mary Barr are showing by their participation in the struggle and by suffering the rigours of imprisonment that not all Europeans in South Africa are a party to the oppressive and colour bar policy of the Union Government. Great Non-European patriots among the Coloured and African people are also enlisting to serve in the cause of freedom. This shows the growing support the Passive Resistance Campaign against the Ghetto Act is gaining from all sections of the South African population.

Gathering Momentum

Although our movement is still young and just gathering momentum our determined resistance is showing positive results in many directions.

In the first place the indictment of South Africa's crime in treating its Indian minority and the vast mass of the Non-European people in an unashamed and unabashed manner. Secondly, support from all over the world shows that the Union Government stands condemned in the eyes of world opinion, for even the Paris Peace Conference was not immune from its vibrations.

Relations with India

Since the passing of the Ghetto Act the relations between South Africa and India have deteriorated completely. The High Commissioner for India in South Africa has been recalled and trade sanctions are in full force. Gandhiji, who left us the heritage of a struggle in the form of passive resistance, is keenly interested in the progress of our campaign and has constantly sent messages of support and encouragement.

Mohamed Ali Jinnah, President of the All India Muslim League, has reaffirmed his and Muslim India's fullest support to the Passive Resistance struggle of the Indian community.

We are most gratified by and welcome the steps taken by the Interim Government in tightening up measures to make economic sanctions as complete and watertight as possible. We welcome Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's declaration of policy in relation to South Africa. The Union Government is already feeling the full impact of this policy. The shortage of gunny bags, oil seeds and textiles is becoming acutely felt by consumers and farmers alike. The naive attempt by the press to minimise the effects of sanctions cannot help to reassure the farmers who want gunny bags and consumers who want food commodities that these will be delivered to them.

United Nations Assembly

(Speaking of the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Dr. Dadoo said:)

The day of the United Nations Assembly meeting is approaching nearer. We are awaiting with calm confidence the decision of the United Nations. We have, in spite of the Union Government's press propaganda to the contrary, a simple and straightforward case. We only require to place it concisely, concretely and truthfully before the Assembly to commend it to their sense of equity and democracy. We are fortified in our confidence by the knowledge that the Indian delegation will not allow any attempt by the South African Government to divert the attention of the Assembly from the main issue, that by denying elementary rights of citizenship to the Indian and Non-European peoples, by condemning them to live as helots in Ghettos and by driving the vast masses of them to the slaughter pole of the cheap labour policy, South Africa is guilty of flagrant contravention of the basic principles of the United Nations Charter and is in fact practising fascism.

During the last three months since the beginning of the Passive Resistance struggle, a new awakening is perceptible among the Non-European masses. Recent events on the Rand leading to the strike of the African Mineworkers, the most ruthlessly oppressed section of the South African masses, are of great historic significance. The point is not that the African mineworkers were forced by Police violence and brutalities to give up the strike; the significant point is that they ever came out on strike.

A New Dawn

We are now witnessing the first glow of a new dawn for South Africa and a decisive turning point in her history. Our country is entering a period of struggle for democracy for all, for a great united and happy South Africa. We are at long last catching up with the march of history. We are now not far behind the masses of the peoples of Europe fighting for democratic peoples` governments and the colonial and semi-colonial peoples fighting for freedom and independence.

Non-European Unity

The struggle of the Indian and African people is welding unity and cooperation in action and we are forging the forces of democracy which alone can destroy fascist practices in our country.

Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo South Africa's Freedom Struggle: Statements, Speeches and Articles including Correspondence with Mahatma Gandhi

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.