Riots erupt in East London, Eastern Cape

Sunday, 9 November 1952

Riots erupted in East London, Eastern Cape after strike meetings were banned by the government. 17 protesters were killed, as well as an Irish Nun who was stoned to death by the mob. The riots happened five months after the start of the Defiance Campaign, 26 June 1952 when the first volunteers including Nelson Mandela, Yusuf Dadoo and Walter Sisulu defied Apartheid laws in Johannesburg and other major city centres. The period 1950 -1952 was marked by a commitment to militant African nationalism, mass action, and tactics of boycotts, strikes and civil disobedience.

• Boddy-Evans, A. ‘This Day in African History: 9 November’, [online], available at (accessed: 10 October 2013)
• South African History Online, ‘Defiance Campaign 1952’, [online], available at (accessed: 10 October 2013) 

Last updated : 08-Nov-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 07-Nov-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.