Douglas G Wolton was a leader of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) from 1931 to 1933. He was born in Yorkshire, England, and immigrated to South Africa, in 1921. He joined the CPSA in Cape Town in 1925 and was one of the party's activists most strongly in favor of an emphasis on organising blacks.

He became the editor of the party's newspaper, the South African Worker, later umsebenzi, in 1928. In the parliamentary election of 1929 he stood as a mist candidate in Cape Flats but polled only 93 votes. During the controversy over the "Black Republic" doctrine, issued by the Comintem in 1928, Wolton and his wife, also a party activist, backed the slogan, while Sidney Bunting, then leader of the party, opposed it. After the 1929 election, the Woltons left South Africa and went to Russia, where they studied for some time at the Lenin School in Moscow.

Returning to South Africa in late 1930, armed with Comintern orders to Bolshevize the CPSA, Wolton launched a campaign against the alleged "right danger" personified by Bunting. The resulting party purges and the decline of Umsebenzi from a popular African paper into an abstruse organ, dealt the CPSA a blow for which all Wolton's dedication and mastery of theory did little to compensate. In early 1932 he served a sentence of several months with hard labor after articles in Umsebenzi had alleged prison brutalities in Natal. The following year, after taking an active part in a strike of tram and bus workers in Cape Town, he was convicted under the Riotous Assemblies Act and sentenced to another three months hard labor. On his release in August 1933 he left South Africa with his family to live in Britain. In 1947 he published a book. Whither South Africa?


Gerhart G.M and Karis T. (ed)(1977). From Protest to challenge: A documentary History of African Politics in South Africa: 1882-1964, Vol.4 Political Profiles 1882 - 1964. Hoover Institution Pres: Stanford University.

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