Goolam H. Gool was born on 24 March 1905, in Cape Town, Western Cape.

He was the son of Yusuf Gool, born in India, in 1864. He made his way to Cape Town in 1885 and married a local Malay woman, Wagieda Ta’al. Yusuf started out as a hawker but later branched into the spice trade and wholesaled dried snoek.

At the age of nine Goolam Gool was sent to study at Aligarh College in India. He returned home in 1919 when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s passive resistance campaign, against British colonial rule in India, resulted in the closure of Aligarh in 1919.

Gool then matriculated in London and entered Guy’s Medical Training Hospital, London in 1923. After qualifying as a medical doctor in 1931 he returned to Cape Town and opened a practice in Claremont.

He married Marceda Ismael of Cape Town, a fellow medical student in the United Kingdom (UK), in 1931. They had a son Reshad but divorced shortly after. He then married Halima Nagdee, an activist in her own right, and they had two children, Selim and Shirin.

The Russian Revolution, Indian nationalist struggle, and anti-imperialist protest in London and India, all influenced Gool’s politicisation.

He was ambitious to dethrone the aging Abdullah Abdurahman as the leading coloured community spokesperson, but this proved difficult. The brother-in-law of Cissie Gool and son-in-law of Abdul Abdurahman, he was a leader in the unsuccessful challenge to Abdurahman's domination of Coloured politics in the early 1930s.

Later he was a founder and member of the executive committee of the All African Convention (AAC). He experienced defeat when most AAC leaders decided to adopt the watered down compromise of the 1936 Hertzog Bills

Gool became president of the National Liberation League (NLL) in 1937 but was expelled the following year. In 1937, he founded the New Era Fellowship (NEF), a socialist debating society, with Ben Kies.

 In 1943 he was a founder of the Anti-CAD (anti-Coloured Affairs Department) Movement and was elected vice-chairman of the Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM).

Goolam H. Gool remained a NEUM member until his death in 1962 in Cape Town, Western Cape.

  • 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 10 December 2018)
  • Vahed, G. (2012). Goolam Gool from Muslim Portraits.  Available at . Accessed on 23 May 2019
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