Christopher W. M. Gell

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First name: 
Christopher W. M.
Last name: 
Date of birth: 
Location of birth: 
Edinburgh, Scotland,
Date of death: 

Christopher Gell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1917. One of the most respected White champions of the African cause,After graduating from Cambridge University with a first class pass in1938, while serving in the Indian civil service, he was stricken with polio in 1945.The son of British navy captain.In 1947 he and his South African-born wife moved to Rustenburg and later in Port Elizabeth. Although totally paralyzed and confined most of the time to an iron lung, he became an authority on racial policies, particularly the Group Areas Act. He met regularly with African, Coloured, and Indian friends of differing outlooks and was influential as an independent-minded and penetrating analyst of opposition tactics. He had published over 500 articles and letters in South Africa,United States and Europe,including regular columns in indian opinion(edited by Manilal Gandhi).

He used his journalistic skills to fight race discrimination, contributing to Indian Opinion, Africa X-Ray, and many other publications.Gell's physical condition as well as his wide reputation made it impossible for NPsecurity forces to threaten or detain him,although they continually tried to tap his phone. African National Congress (ANC) volunteers carried the coffin at his funeral in 1958.

• Gerhart G.M and Karis T. (ed)(1977)
• Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) (last accessed 27 November 2018)

Last updated : 27-Nov-2018

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

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