Alfred ‘Tough’ Hutchinson

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Biographical information

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Synopsis:

Teacher, author, 1956 Treason trialist, member of the ANC.

First name: 
Alfred "Tough"
Last name: 
Hutchinson
Date of birth: 
1924
Location of birth: 
Hector spruit district,Eastern Transvaal,South Africa
Date of death: 
14-October-1972
Location of death: 
Nigeria

Alfred ‘Tough’ Hutchinson  was born of coloured and Swazi parents in 1924 in the Hectorspruit district of the Eastern Transvaal, he graduated from St. Peter's Secondary School in Johannesburg in 1945 and obtained a BAchelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in English and teacher's diploma from Fort Hare in 1948. A leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Transvaal in the 1950s. He taught briefly in Pimville High School until his dismissal for participation in the 1952 Defiance Campaign. He then took up law at the University of the Witwatersrand but did not complete his degree. In 1953 he attended the World Youth Festival in Bucharest and also toured in Britain, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. From 1955 to 1958 he taught at the independent Central Indian High School in Johannesburg. He served as ANC Transvaal Provincial secretary, and was co-opted onto the national executive committee in the mid-1950s. Hutchinson was elected to the ANC executive committee in December 1952 and remained a member until 1958.During this time he enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand for a law degree,but did not complete the requirements.

From December 1956 until late 1958 he was one of the accused in the Treason Trial. Following his acquittal he left South Africa without a passport and went to Ghana, where he taught for some years at Accra University College, later making his home in London. He wrote the book 'Road to Ghana' (1960). He died in Nigeria in 1972.In October 1958 the indictment against him was withdrawn,but police arrested him for not having a pass,although  as a coloured person under South Africa law he was not required to carry one.Nokwe successfully defended him in court, and Hutchinson made a swift escape from South Africa,reaching Ghana via Tanganyika in December 1958,just in time to attend the All-African People's Conference in Accra as an ANC delegate.

He worked briefly at Accra University College,then proceeded to Britain where he taught for about ten years,earning a master's degree on the side from Sussex University. Hutchinson in South Africa had published short stories in Fighting Talk, but his  autobiographical book The Road to Ghana,published in Britain in 1960,established him as a notable writer,and was translated into seven languages.In 1964 the BBC Africa Service broadcast his radio play, Fusane's Trial, and the University of London Press published his play, The-Rain Killer. In 1971 Hutchinson accepted a teaching position in Nigeria,but his health deteriorated there and he died in late 1972 at the age of 48.


References:
• From Protest To Challenge, Political Profiles Volume 4, p38
• Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) http://www.jacana.co.za/component/virtuemart/?keyword=from+protest+to+ch... (last accessed 30 January 2019)

Last updated : 30-Jan-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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