Yusuf Dadoo Timeline: 1920 - 1929

1920

January, Gandhi wrote to the press on the South African Appellate Court's judgment in the case of the Krugersdorp Municipality vs. Mohamed Dadoo.  The court held that in terms of the Gold Law the formation of Indian companies for the purpose of acquiring fixed property is illegal and that transfers so obtained were fraudulent.

February, Sir Johannes Lange heads the Asiatic Inquiry Commission to inquire into laws concerning the right of Asiatics to trade and acquire fixed property in the Union.

A 22-year-old university graduate, PS Joshi, arrives from India on an excepted permit to take up a post as a teacher at Dadoo’s school in Johannesburg. Joshi, a militant Indian nationalist has a major influence on Dadoo, Ismail Cachalia and the students at the school.

July, Mohamed Dadoo wins his case against the Krugersdorp Municipality which uses the Gold Act to prevent Indians from owning property or trading in mining areas.

1922 

January, General Smuts’s Government is faced with a crisis when striking White miners mount an armed revolt against the Government and mining houses proposed policy of using Black miners at lower salaries in jobs traditionally done by Whites. Fordsburg and West Rand towns such as Krugersdorp are some of the centres of the revolt and all shops and schools are closed.

1923

The South African Indian Congress is formed to fight the principle of segregation embodied in the Class Areas Bill. 

The passing of the Class Areas Bill, led to the third national conference of the three provincial Indian Congresses and the formal launch of the South African Indian Congress.  The Conference takes a resolution to undertake mass action if the government does not repel the Act.

February, The Indian Congresses invite the internationally acclaimed women activist and poet Sarojini Naidu to visit South Africa.  Sarojini Naidoo becomes the President of the Indian National Congress and the South African Indian Congress.  On her visit to the Transvaal, Joshi organises a meeting which the 15-year-old Yusuf chairs.

February, General Smuts’ Government introduces the Class Areas Bill in Parliament.  The Bill would enable the Government to segregate all domiciled Indians and other Asiatics both for residence and trade.  This was in flagrant violation of the Smuts-Gandhi Settlement of 1914.

Dadoo leaves Johannesburg for Durban and from here he travels by boat to Aligarh College in India to complete his high schooling.  The four years he spends in India are to be the most memorable and influential times in shaping his political and cultural outlook.

1925

November 16, A South African Indian Congress deputation meets Dr DF Malan, the Minister of the Interior, who proposes the Areas Reservation and Immigration Bill.  He makes no secret that the purpose of the Bill is to exert pressure on Indians, by limiting their opportunities, to leave the country.  After Malan's discouraging response, a South African Indian Congress deputation sets sail for India to exert pressure on the Indian Government to intervene on their behalf.

1926

December 17 1926 - January 12 1927, The First Round Table Conference is held between the South African Government and an Indian Government delegation in Cape Town.

1927

Dadoo returns to Krugersdorp at the age of 18.  The Indian community hosts a reception at the Krugersdorp Town Hall for V. Srinivasa Sastri, the first Indian Agent to South Africa.  Dadoo is asked to pass the vote of thanks.  In his speech, he criticises Sastri, accusing him of selling out the Indian people.  The speech creates a controversy within the Indian community.

His father wants him to join the family business. However, the strong willed young man is intent on furthering his studies abroad.  After a great deal of persuasion, Dadoo convinces his father to send him to study law in England.

February 2, The Indian and South African Governments issue a joint communiqué of eight points with details of the Cape Town Agreement. The South African Government withdraws its Areas Bill in view of the agreement reached.

18 February, The Transvaal Indian Congress replaces the defunct Transvaal British India Association

March 12 -13, The South African Indian Congress holds its seventh annual Conference in Johannesburg to discuss implications of the Cape Town Agreement. 

June 23, The South African Indian Congress sends a delegation to participate in the Non European Conference, in Kimberley.

1929

January, Dadoo leaves Cape Town by boat for London.  He initially finds lodgings at the YMCA in London.  He joins a small group of Indian students, activists who are involved in promoting the cause of Indian independence.

Dadoo's interest in Indian nationalists, British politics and left wing politics grows.  He joins the British Labour Party and becomes an active member of its London Central Branch. In the party he meets and develops a lifelong friendship with Jimmy Maxwell and other members of the Labour Party.  He also becomes friendly with Saclifwalla, an Indian, and the first Communist MP in Britain. 

Dadoo starts to study Marxism and also attends classes in Russian so that he could learn more about the Soviet Union.  He joins a student demonstration against the Simon’s Commission, is arrested and placed in a cell, in Bond Street Prison, in London.  He receives a suspended sentence for six months and let off on a First Probation Offender's Act, as he is only twenty and it is his first offence.

News of his arrest reaches his father, who threatens to cut off his allowance if Dadoo continues with his political activities. Yusuf is given an ultimatum, either he returns home or leaves London and enrol for a medical degree in Edinburgh.

Dadoo enrols at Skerry College and passes the University Examination. At Edinburgh University he meets two other South African students who  with Dadoo were to play a pivotal role in the liberation struggle, Dr. Mohambry Gangathura 'Monty' Naicker and Dr. Kesevallo Goonam.

In Edinburgh, Dadoo renews his involvement in the Independent Labour Party and the local branch of the Indian National Congress. 

Last updated : 19-Sep-2014

This article was produced by South African History Online on 01-Apr-2011

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