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In December 1961, Albert Luthuli, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), arrived in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Journalists in Norway noted how apartheid crackdowns failed to poison the new laureate's ‘courteous’ commitment to nonviolence. The press never reported Luthuli's acceptance that saboteurs in an armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK or Spear of the Nation), would now fight for freedom. Analyzing recently available evidence, this article challenges a prevailing claim that Luthuli always promoted peace regardless of state authorities who nearly beat him to death and massacred protesting women, children, and men. We uncover his evolving views of justifiable violence, which guided secret ANC decisions to pursue ‘some kind of violence’ months before his Nobel celebration. These views not only expand knowledge of ‘struggle history’, but also alter understandings of Luthuli's aim to emancipate South Africa from a system of white supremacy that he likened to ‘slavery’.



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1 Luthuli's Message from Oslo to South African People, Dec. 1961: (, accessed 4 June 2017. Luthuli was ANC president-general from 1952 until his death in 1967. For Luthuli's global acclaim, see Christian Science Monitor, 9 Dec. 1961; for Luthuli's ‘courteous’ mien, see New York Times, 28 May 1959. Luthuli accepted the 1960 Peace Prize in December 1961.

2 Schomburg Research Center for African American History and Culture, New York Public Library, Luthuli Papers (hereafter LP Schomburg), Folder 117, Box 6, T. Gcabashe interview with J. Reuling, 1973 (hereafter Gcabashe interview with Reuling), 16–17. Reuling traveled 150 miles around Groutville to evade police: Special Collections (SC), Michigan State University (MSU), Folder 35, Box 5, ‘The Other Nobel So. Africa Winner’, Currents, 1984.

3 LP Schomburg: Folder 115, Box 6, A. Luthuli, ‘From the African National Congress, c. early 1958’; Folder 86, Box 4, A. Luthuli, ‘Fifty Years of Union-Political Review’, 21 Dec. 1959. We draw on Stephanie Camp’s scholarship, which critically explores the ‘intimate worlds’ of enslaved people's ‘everyday resistance’ to white supremacy, including their faith in New Testament love and Old Testament revenge. Camp, S., Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South (Chapel Hill, NC, 2004), 3. The authors thank Professor Wendi Manuel-Scott for the Camp reference.

4 LP Schomburg, Gcabashe interview with Reuling, 16–17.

5 Fascinated by armed struggle history, South African President Zuma stated in a 2010 speech that Luthuli initiated MK: (, accessed 24 Jan. 2016.

6 Sithole, J. and Mkhize, S., ‘Truth or lies? Selective memories, imagings and representations of Chief Albert Luthuli in recent political discourses’, History and Theory, 39 (2000), 72; Ellis, S., External Mission: The ANC in Exile 1960–1990 (Oxford, 2013), 12, 25–6.

7 Landau, P., ‘The ANC, MK, and “the turn to violence” (1960–62)’, South African Historical Journal (hereafter SAHJ), 64:3 (2012), 538–63.

8 Suttner, R., ‘The road to freedom is via the cross: “just means” in Chief Albert Luthuli's life’, SAHJ, 62:4 (2010), 699700. Like Suttner, Ellis emphasizes that Luthuli recognized the ‘military organization … provided it was separate from, and independent of, the ANC’: Ellis, External Mission, 24–5.

9 Couper, S., ‘Emasculating agency: an unambiguous assessment of Albert Luthuli's stance on violence’, SAHJ, 64:3 (2012), 567, 569; Couper, S., Albert Luthuli: Bound by Faith (Scottsville, 2010), 111–84; Couper, S., ‘An embarrassment to the congresses? The silencing of chief Albert Luthuli and the production of ANC history’, Journal of Southern African Studies (hereafter JSAS), 35:2 (2009), 331–48.

10 Dubow, S., Apartheid, 1948–1994 (Oxford, 2014), 86–7; Dubow, S., ‘Were there political alternatives in the wake of the Sharpeville-Langa violence in South Africa, 1960?’, The Journal of African History, 56:1 (2015), 120, 132, 139; Ellis, External Mission, 25; Cherry, J., Spear of the Nation (Umkhonto weSizwe): South Africa's Liberation Army, 1960–1990s (Athens, OH, 2011), 15; Lodge, T., Sharpeville: An Apartheid Massacre and its Consequences (Oxford, 2011), 214, 216; Sapire, H. and Saunders, C., ‘Liberation struggles in southern Africa in context’, in Sapire, H. and Saunders, C. (eds.), Southern African Liberation Struggles: New Local, Regional and Global Perspectives (Cape Town, 2012), 2, 21; Bundy, C., Nelson Mandela (Auckland Park, 2015).

11 Legassick, M., ‘Armed struggle in South Africa: consequences of a strategy debate’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 21:2 (2003), 296–7.

12 Ibid. 286, 298.

13 Concerned that Legassick's chapter, co-authored with Dave Hemson and Nicole Ulrich, overly focused on white activists, SADET director Bernard Magubane not only retitled their chapter ‘White activists and the revival of the workers’ movement’, but also authorized a follow-up chapter by Sithole, Jabulani and Ndlvou, Sifiso entitled, ‘The revival of the labour movement, 1970–1980’, in South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET) (ed.), Road to Democracy in South Africa (1970–1980), Volume II (Pretoria, 2006).

14 Legassick, M., ‘Debating the revival of the workers’ movement in the 1970s: the South African democracy education trust and post-apartheid patriotic history’, Kronos, 34 (2008), 241, 250, 252, 265–6.

15 Mbeki, T., ‘Foreword’, in SADET (ed.), Road to Democracy in South Africa (1960–1970), Volume I (Cape Town, 2004), xi; hereafter Road to Democracy I. For Mbeki's military training, see Gevisser, M., A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream (Johannesburg, 2009), 116.

16 Sithole, J., ‘Contestations over knowledge production or ideological bullying? A response to Legassick on the workers’ movement’, Kronos, 35 (2009), 227–8.

17 Dubow, ‘Political alternatives’, 120, 122, 135, 139.

18 Fred Dube interview in SADET, The Road to Democracy: South Africans Telling their Stories, 1950–1970, Volume I (Houghton, 2008), 105; hereafter Telling their Stories.

19 LP Schomburg, Gcabashe interview with Reuling, 16–17; for Luthuli's comparison of apartheid to slavery and fascism, see LP Schomburg: Folder 115, Box 6, A. Luthuli, ‘From the African National Congress, c. early 1958’; Folder 69, Box 1, NRC Meeting Minutes; Folder 86, Box 4, A. Luthuli, ‘Fifty Years of Union-Political Review’, 21 Dec. 1959.

20 Couper, Bound by Faith; Cherry, Spear of the Nation, 15–16.

21 Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository (PAR), Secretary for Native Affairs Papers (1/SNA), 1/1/349, Soyizwapi, ‘Abase Mvoti badhlani yabefundisi’, Ilanga laseNatal (hereafter Ilanga), news cutting, 1906, SNA 2885/06. Luthuli was born in a Southern Rhodesian Seventh Day Adventist mission, which his father, John Luthuli, served as an evangelist until his death in the first year of Albert's life. A decade later, Albert and his brother settled in Natal with their mother Mtonya: Luthuli, A., Let My People Go: The Autobiography of Albert Luthuli Nobel Peace Prize Winner (New York, 1962), 24.

22 Carton, B., ‘Awaken Nkulunkulu, Zulu god of the old testament: pioneering missionaries during the early age of racial spectacle’, in Carton, B., Laband, J., and Sithole, J. (eds.), Zulu Identities: Being Zulu Past and Present (New York, 2009), 133; Luthuli, Let My People, 19–22.

23 Martin Luthuli expressed such ‘aspirations’ for the Natal Native Congress: National Archives (NAB), Pretoria, Governor General (1/GG), ‘Reception of Native Deputation by His Excellency the Governor-General at King's House’, Durban, 22 July 1911, Encl 1, 696, 14 Aug. 1911, 50/126, 1537. Martin Luthuli, John Dube, and Pixley Seme shaped politics of the South African Native National Congress: P. La Hausse, ‘“Death is not the end”: Zulu cosmopolitanism and the politics of Zulu cultural revival’, in Carton, Laband, and Sithole (eds.), Zulu Identities, 263. Odendaal, A., The Founders: The Origins of the ANC and the Struggle for Democracy in South Africa (Lexington, KY, 2013), 390–7.

24 Houle, R., Making African Christianity: Africans Reimagining Their Faith in Colonial South Africa (Bethlehem, PA, 2011), 280–3; Houle, R., ‘The American mission revivals and modern Zulu Evangelism’, in Carton, , Laband, , and Sithole, (eds.), Zulu Identities, 230–1; American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives, 15.4, Yale Divinity School, Microfilm Reel 188, Document 75, Rev. W. C. Wilcox, ‘Annual Report for Umvoti, June 1897’, 1–8.

25 de Webb, C. B. and Wright, J. (eds.), The James Stuart Archive, Volume IV (Pietermaritzburg, 1986), testimony of Mqaikana, 11 May 1916, 14–15; hereafter The James Stuart Archive is JSA, with volume and publication year. For relevant evidence of homestead disruption and suffering, see JSA V (2001), testimony of Ntshelele, 26 Feb. 1922, 195–6; JSA IV (1986), testimony of Mtshapi, 9 May 1918, 89; JSA III (1982), testimony of Ndukwana, Mkando, and Dlozi, 13 Aug. 1902, 171–2, 174; PAR 1/NCP 8/3/76, Evidence Natal Native Affairs Commission 1906–7, testimony of J. Kumalo, 19 Jan. 1907, 931.

26 Mary Louise Hooper Papers, Special Collections, MSU (hereafter MLHP MSU), Memoirs S. A. Folder, M. L. Hooper, ‘Profile-Albert John Luthuli’, c. 1961.

27 Ilanga (Durban): 15 Mar. 1947, ‘Uyabonga uMfu. J. M. Hlongwane’; 29 Mar. 1947, ‘UMtwana Phambi kuka King’ and ‘I-Ndlunkulu Yakithi’. Luthuli relished the powers of chieftaincy: Luthuli Papers, Wits University (hereafter LP WITS), Folder C, G. Carter interview with Chief Albert Luthuli, Durban, 28 Mar. 1964, 1–2, C1 (hereafter Carter interview with Luthuli). Albert Luthuli followed his uncle's successor Josiah Mqebu: Luthuli, Let My People, 22; Rule, P. with Aitken, M. and van Dyk, J., Nokukhanya: Mother of Light (Braamfontein, 1993), 92–3.

28 la Hausse, P., ‘So who was Elias Kuzwayo? Nationalism, collaboration and the picaresque in Natal’, in Bonner, P., Delius, P., and Posel, D. (eds.), Apartheid's Genesis, 1935–1962 (Johannesburg, 1993), 205–6.

29 LP Schomburg, Folder 69, Box 1, 1946 NRC Meeting Minutes, A. Luthuli, ‘Fifty Years of Union-Political Review’, 21 Dec. 1959. For ANC leaders’ views of fascism, see Western Cape Archives, Grahamstown Supreme Court (1/GSC) 1/2/1/627, Regina versus Njongwe and 14 others, Supreme Court of South Africa, Port Elizabeth Circuit Local Division, 27 Mar. 1953, 79/53, Criminal Cases 1953, 76 (hereafter Regina v. Njongwe), Dr A. Xuma, African Claims’ in South Africa, Congress Series No. 11, Exhibit TT, 13.

30 Luthuli, Let My People, 189–90. Zulu elites decried ‘death-like apathy’ to the ‘cause of … Liberation’: Ilanga, 8 Mar. 1947. For homegrown fascism in South Africa known as ‘Malanazi’, see Dubow, Apartheid, 45–6.

31 Regina v. Njongwe, 39th Annual Conference of the African National Congress, Annual Report and Presidential Address (hereafter 39th Annual Conference), Exhibit A, Dr Moroka, Presidential Address, Bloemfontein, 16 Dec. 1951, 18. Luthuli traveled in America from June 1948 to February 1949.

32 Luthuli credited the satyagraha ideal for having inspired India's independence and ‘the ANC's struggle against apartheid’: Pillay, G., Voices of Liberation: Albert Luthuli, Volume I (Cape Town, 1993), 31.

33 A. Lutuli Press Statement, On His Dismissal from the Chieftainship of the Abase Makolweni Tribe in the Umvoti Mission Reserve, 15 Nov. 1952, cited in Pillay, Voices, 51.

34 Luthuli, Let My People, 127.

35 Regina v. Njongwe, 39th Annual Conference, [ANC] National Executive Report, 4.

36 ‘The Road to Freedom is Via the Cross’ was issued in November 1952 shortly after the Duncan Village slaughter. Luthuli's chieftainship was invalidated on 11 Nov. 1952.

37 Bank, L. and Carton, B., ‘Forgetting apartheid: history, culture and the body of a nun’, Africa, 86:3 (2016), 6; A. Mager and G. Minkley, ‘Reaping the whirlwind: the East London Riots of 1952’, in Bonner, Delius, and Posel (eds.), Apartheid's Genesis, 231. For Luthuli's account of Black Sunday, see Let My People, 127.

38 Tambo, O. interview, 15 Nov. 1963, in Callinicos, L., Oliver Tambo: Beyond the Engeli Mountains (Cape Town, 2004), 281; Edgar, R. and Msumza, L., The Writings of A. P. Mda (Pretoria, 2018).

39 LP Schomburg, Folder 92, Box 3, Letter L. Kanyile to Luthuli, 22 Nov. 1952; Houser Papers, Special Collections, MSU (hereafter HP MSU), Folder 39, Box 1, Robben Island Document (Walter Sisulu) MSS 294 (hereafter Sisulu Robben Island Memoir), 84.

40 Gerhart, G., Black Power in South Africa: The Evolution of an Ideology (Berkeley, 1978), 129–72.

41 Mandela, N., Long Walk to Freedom (Boston, 1995), 136; Mandela, N., Nelson Mandela: Conversations with Myself (New York, 2011), 115. The 1953 M-Plan: Suttner, R., ‘The African National Congress (ANC) Underground: From the M-Plan to Rivonia’, SAHJ, 49:1 (2003), 123–31.

42 Mandela, Long Walk, 137. Mandela longed to fight as anti-colonial guerrillas were doing in Kenya, Algeria, and Indochina: ‘Report of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, December 17–18 1955’: Karis, T. and Carter, G. (eds.), From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882–1964: Challenge and Violence 1953–1964, Volume III (Stanford, 1977), 223–4.

43 LP WITS, Folder B8-10, R. v. Adams and others; Letter Luthuli to Sisulu, 22 June 1953 and Statement Chief Albert J. Luthuli, 1956.

44 Judge J. Rumpf in Regina v. Sisulu and Others, Witwatersrand Local Division, Dec. 1952, imposed Sisulu's suspended sentence: Regina v. Njongwe, J. Sampson, Judgment Regina versus Njongwe & 14 others, 26 Mar. 1953, 10, 6; Sisulu, E., Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime (Cape Town, 2002), 160–8.

45 Sisulu Robben Island Memoir, 95; Regina v. Njongwe, police reports and witness statements, 9–93. For evidence of simmering popular anger at apartheid laws ‘of the Devil’, see Ilanga, 18 Jan. 1947.

46 LP WITS, Folder B8-10, R. v. Adams and others, Statement Chief Albert J. Luthuli, annotated ‘Revised’, 1956, 9.

47 Daily Dispatch (East London, South Africa), 14 Feb. 1953.

48 Harvard University, Houghton Library, American Board Mission Papers, Folder 29, Box 37, Luthuli File (1), D. Steere, ‘Albert Luthuli: Head of the African National Congress’.

49 Carter interview with Luthuli; LP WITS, 1956 Treason Trial, A1.b1Vol.1, Box 2, Regina versus Farrid Adams and Others, Luthuli's message, ‘Annual Report of N.E.C. to A.N.C., 16th to 19th December 1954’, Preparatory Examination in the Magistrate's Court for the District of Johannesburg, 19 Dec. 1956, 23.

50 LP Schomburg: Folder 86, Box 4, ‘Message to the Congress of the People Meeting’, 25 June 1955; Folder 54, Box 3, A. Luthuli and M. Yengwa, ‘Joint Message to the Congress of the People of South Africa: Meeting in Kliptown, Johannesburg, on June 25–26 1955’. Z. K. Matthews became acting ANC president-general in Kliptown. For an analysis of the Freedom Charter, see Suttner, R. and Cronin, J., 50 Years of the Freedom Charter (Pretoria, 2006).

51 Fredrickse, J., The Unbreakable Thread: Non-Racialism in South Africa (Bloomington, 1990), 54; Rule, Nokukhanya, 68, 108, 115; Luthuli's views of women's political power: LP Schomburg, Folder 51, Box 3, Minutes Meeting of Provincial Committee of ANC, Natal Branch, 21–2 Jan. 1955.

52 A. Sampson, Mandela: The Authorized Biography (London, 1999), 103; LP Schomburg, Folder 1, Box 4, Letter Luthuli to ML Hooper, 8 June 1956; Luthuli created a Freedom Fund to pay the legal fees of activists: LP Schomburg, Folder 92, Box 3, Letter C. Williams to Luthuli, 25 May 1956; Paul Robeson donated proceeds from a benefit concert in London to the Freedom Fund: LP Schomburg, Folder 38, Box 4, ‘Recent Fund-Raising’.

53 Such camaraderie would enliven Mandela and his comrades on Robben Island: Mandela, Long Walk, 175–6; Sisulu interview, Road to Democracy I, 65; Turok, B., Nothing But the Truth: Behind the ANC's Struggle Politics (Johannesburg, 2003), 76–7; Buntman, F., Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid (Cambridge, 2003).

54 LP Schomburg, Folder 115, Box 6, A. Luthuli, ‘From the African National Congress, c. early 1958’; New Age, South Africa, 7 Nov. 1957.

55 MLHP MSU, ‘About and to Chief, Nok, Albertinah, etc. Folder’ (hereafter ‘About and to Chief’), Letter Ruth First to M. L. Hooper, 13 May 1959; Sisulu Robben Island Memoir. The 1958 national election was the first major ballot following the disenfranchisement of Coloured voters in 1956.

56 Unbowed, Luthuli composed himself and addressed the crowd: Christian Science Monitor, 15 June 1959; LP Schomburg, Folder 72, Box 4, C.O.D. Press Statement, ‘Attack on Chief Luthuli’, undated.

57 LP Schomburg, Folder 72, Box 4, Letter Minister of Justice C. Swart to Luthuli, 22 May 1959.

58 Daily News (South Africa), 29 May 1959.

59 The Pondoland revolt, in particular, funneled different forms of popular anger against perceived community ‘collaborators’, with rural Xhosa commoners targeting some chiefs after passage of the 1951 Bantu Authorities’ Act: Gibbs, T., Mandela's Kinsmen: Nationalist Elites and Apartheid's First Bantustan (Johannesburg, 2014), 44–7, 49. For anti-apartheid unrest elsewhere in the late 1950s and early 1960s, see Delius, P., A Lion Amongst the Cattle: Reconstruction and Resistance in the Northern Transvaal (Portsmouth, NH, 1996), 108–42; Lodge, T., Black Politics in South Africa since 1945 (London, 1983), 268.

60 Road to Democracy I, 58–9; D. Goldberg, R. Bernstein, H. Gwala, and B. Nair interviews, Telling their Stories, 339, 363–6.

61 LP Schomburg, Folder 71, Box 4, Letter SAPA Durban Representative to Luthuli, 25 Aug. 1959.

62 For a full account of this incident, see Frankel, P., An Ordinary Atrocity: Sharpeville and its Massacre (New Haven, 2001), 53180; Lodge, Sharpeville.

63 Yale University, Sterling Memorial Library, ES Reddy Papers Accession 2005-M-098 (hereafter ERP, Yale), Folder 1963, George Houser Testimony to the UN Special Committee on Apartheid, May 1963; Pogrund, B., Robert Sobukwe: How Can Man Die Better (Johannesburg, 2015).

64 Erasmus quote: Gerhart, Black Power, 247.

65 Luthuli was convicted of pass-burning: Kathrada, A., No Bread for Mandela: Memoirs of Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner No. 468/64 (Lexington, KY, 2011), 127; Meredith, M., Nelson Mandela: A Biography (New York, 1997), 174; Commonwealth News, 19 Dec. 1960; Natal Mercury (Durban), 25 Oct. 1961. Luthuli's prison assault infuriated Africans: Sisulu Robben Island Memoir, 122; Lodge, Sharpeville, 215–16.

66 Turok, B., Nothing But The Truth: Behind the ANC's Struggle Politics (Cape Town, 2003), 17; Couper, ‘An embarrassment’, 334.

67 Road to Democracy I, 81; Ellis, External Mission, 12.

68 Hepple, B., The Young Man with a Red Tie: A Memoir of Mandela and the Failed Revolution: 1960–1963 (Auckland Park, 2013), 36, 104–6. There is evidence that by 1960 Mandela had joined the SACP Central Committee: Ellis, External Mission, 12–13, 17; Landau, P., ‘Controlled by communists? (Re)assessing the ANC in its exilic decades’, SAHJ, 67:2 (2015), 223–4, 240; Lodge, T., ‘Secret party: South African communists between 1950 and 1960’, SAHJ, 67:4 (2015), 459–62.

69 Bonner, P., ‘The antinomies of Nelson Mandela’, in Barnard, Rita (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela (New York, 2014), 41; Turok, Nothing But, 123.

70 Dubow, ‘Political alternatives’, 136.

71 New Age, 13 Apr. 1961; LP Schomburg, Folder 115, Box 6, ‘The African Leaders Call to the African People of South Africa, Prepare for the All-In African Conference, March 1961’; Dubow, Apartheid, 83–4; Giliomee, H., The Last Afrikaner Leaders: A Supreme Test of Power (Charlottesville, 2012), 74–7.

72 Bonner, ‘Antinomies of Nelson Mandela’, 42; Mandela, Long Walk, 236.

73 Callinicos, Tambo, 281.

74 Photo courtesy of Luthuli Museum, Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal.

75 Luthuli, Let My People, 113. Luthuli rarely aired reservations about peaceful protest to mainstream media or white liberals, which he sometimes regarded with suspicion. For example, he questioned whether reformist Liberal and Federal parties supported the ‘Universal Franchise’ when they feared ‘offend[ing] unduly the White Electorate’: LP WITS: Folder A1, Letter Luthuli to Sisulu, 22 June 1953; Folder B4-7, ‘Our Common Task, Message by A. J. Luthuli, President-General of the A.N.C. to the Annual Meeting of the South African Congress of Democrats’, 20 June 1955.

76 Luthuli, Let My People, 207.

77 The British Diplomatic Office called Luthuli's ANC ‘tailor-made for Communist exploitation’: United Kingdom National Archives (UK NA), Correspondence Respecting Commonwealth Relations, Jan.–Dec. 1957, Vol. 3, DO 208, P. Liesching, High Commissioner in South Africa to Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, 13 Dec. 1957, SECRET, 149 (53953), 29. This finding was similar to a CIA analysis of ANC dynamics between the 1950s and early 1960s: Digital National Security Archive (, accessed 1 Jan. 2015, CIA NLK-76–299, ‘Subversive Movements in South Africa’, 10 May 1963, 2–3. For excellent studies of apartheid rule and Cold War politics, see R. Irwin, Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order (New York, 2012), 5–11, 57–64; T. Borstelmann, Apartheid's Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War (New York, 1993), 84–9.

78 LP WITS, Folder A, Letter Luthuli to Matthews, 15 June 1953. For ANC views of racist hell, see Regina v. Njongwe, Exhibit HH, ‘Intetho Esingisele Kuma Afrika Asekoloni’, 25 May 1952.

79 Mandela, Long Walk, 236. Kotane's ANC and SACP influence: Turok, Nothing But, 108–9, 115, 136. Having lived with Kotane and Harmel for five months of the 1960 State of Emergency, Turok was in a position to relate Kotane's views of counter-violence.

80 Simpson, T., Umkhonto we Sizwe: The ANC's Armed Struggle (Cape Town, 2016), 30–1; Landau, ‘“Turn to violence”’, 545; Stengel, R., Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life (London, 2010), 111–12.

81 In this conversation, Mandela referenced anti-settler revolts in Algeria and Vietnam. During July 1961, a Joint Executive conference of the Congress Alliance considered the question of self-defense: Mandela, Long Walk, 236–7; Smith, D., Young Mandela: The Revolutionary Years (Boston, 2010), 246–7.

82 For Mandela's meeting with Luthuli, see Smith, Young Mandela, 238; Turok, Nothing But, 123. Kotane's meeting with Luthuli probably occurred before the pivotal NEC and Joint Congress sessions: Naidoo, L., In the Shadow of Chief Luthuli: Reflections of Goolam Suleman (Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal, 2010), 21; F. Dube interview, Telling Their Stories, 105. Goolam Suleman hosted key Luthuli-Kotane meetings.

83 Smith, Young Mandela, 238, 243. Tambo reflected on the close relationship between the ANC president-general and Kotane, stating ‘Luthuli, who [while] … not a member of the [Communist] Party … bypassed his officials and secretaries and sent for Moses’: Callinicos, Tambo, 188; Bunting, B., Moses Kotane: South African Revolutionary: A Political Biography (3rd edn, London, 1975), 236–7; Suttner, R., The ANC Underground in South Africa (Johannesburg, 2008), 47.

84 Hooper, C., ‘Luthuli's views on violence’, Rand Daily Mail (Johannesburg), 1 Aug. 1967.

85 Benson, M., Chief Albert Lutuli of South Africa (Oxford, 1963), 65.

86 Lodge, Mandela, 90; Bunting, Kotane, 268–9; Mandela, Long Walk, 322; Shubin, V., ANC: A View from Moscow (Johannesburg, 2009), 10.

87 Drew, A., South Africa's Radical Tradition, 1943–1964: A Documentary History, Volume II (Cape Town, 1997), 344; for SACP saboteurs and Chinese training, see Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi interviews, Magubane et al., ‘The turn to armed struggle’, Road to Democracy I, 83–4.

88 Mandela, Long Walk, 237.

89 Luthuli Museum, Groutville, Masabalala Yengwa Papers, unpublished autobiography of M. B. Yengwa (1976), 106. Meeting at a different location, members of the unbanned Natal Indian Congress supported nonviolent principles while others in the organization advocated counter-violence: I. Meer, A Fortunate Man (Cape Town, 2002), 223–4.

90 Joe Matthews and Curnick Ndlovu interviews, Magubane et al., ‘Turn to armed struggle’, 88–89.

91 Asmal, K. and Hadland, A., with Levy, M., Politics in My Blood (Auckland Park, 2011), 143; Hepple, With A Red Tie, 107.

92 Long Walk, 237–8; Turok, Nothing But, 127.

93 Meer, Fortunate Man, 224.

94 Simpson, Umkhonto, 33.

95 Sisulu Robben Island Memoir, 128.

96 Mandela, Long Walk, 238; Mandela, Conversations, 78. Following Mandela, NIC member Yusuf Cachalia cautioned that counter-violence would provoke the state to ‘arrest us … [and] slaughter us’. M. D. Naidoo dissented, accusing some NIC colleagues of being afraid, a charge that instigated recriminations: Simpson, Umkhonto, 33; Babenia, N., Memoirs of a Saboteur: Reflections of My Political Activities in India and South Africa (Bellville, SA, 1995), 53.

97 Simpson, Umkhonto, 33–4.

98 Turok, Nothing But, 135; Meer, Fortunate Man, 224.

99 University of the Western Cape, Mayibuye Centre, Ray and Jack Simons Papers, panel discussion on SACP history, 18 Jan. 1991; Arenstein interview, London Review of Books, 13:4 (1991), 22–3; Landau, ‘“Turn to violence”’, 552. Arenstein's dispute with the Johannesburg ‘clique’ reflected the strategies of his Durban counterparts who favored trade unionism and strike activity: Arenstein interview with Iain Edwards, Durban, 1986, quoted in Lodge, ‘Secret party’, 449–50, 459.

100 Mandela, Long Walk, 238; Smith, Young Mandela, 248–9; Joe Matthews interview, Telling Their Stories, 19; N. Mandela, Conversations With Myself, 78.

101 Mandela, Long Walk, 246; Smith, Young Mandela, 249. In 1961 Luthuli and Kotane showed no inclination to support Mandela's evocations of guerilla warfare: Landau, ‘Controlled by communists?’, 229–31.

102 Bunting, Kotane, 268–9; Slovo, J., The Unfinished Autobiography of ANC Leader Joe Slovo (London, 1995), 150.

103 Fred Dube interview, Telling Their Stories, 105. Suleman believed that it was Kotane who ‘convinced the Chief to accept the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe’: Naidoo, In the Shadow, 21. Enrolled around July 1961, the Natal MK unit was commanded by Luthuli confidant Curnick Ndlovu, as well as Kasrils, Nair, Eric Mtshali, and Bruno Mtolo: Kasrils, R., Armed and Dangerous: From Undercover Struggle to Freedom (Auckland Park, 2013), 38–9; Babenia, Memoirs of a Saboteur, 60–1. Winnie Mandela said her husband coined Umkhonto weSizwe after hearing Luthuli explain that ‘[w]hen a man attacks my kraal I take a spear and defend my family’: Smith, Young Mandela, 251. From the start, MK was run by men close to Luthuli who blurred the boundaries between MK and ANC: J. Matthews and F. Dube interviews, Telling Their Stories, 19–20, 105–6.

104 LP WITS, Folder B4-7, ‘Nobel Lecture delivered by Chief Albert Luthuli, Oslo University’, 11 Dec. 1961, typescript; J. Sithole, ‘Chief Albert Luthuli and Bantustan Politics’, in Carton, Laband, and Sithole (eds.), Zulu Identities, 331; Christian Science Monitor, 9 Dec. 1961.

105 MLHP MSU, Memoirs-S. A. Folder, M. Hooper, ‘Profile-Albert John Luthuli, c. 1961’; Natal Mercury, 24 Oct. 1961.

106 Benson, Chief Lutuli, 47; Sunday Tribune (Durban), 29 Oct. 1961.

107 T. Sellstrom interview with W. Sisulu, 15 Sept. 1995, in T. Sellstrom, Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa: Formation of a Popular Opinion (1950 –1970), Volume I (Uppsala, 1999), 178; Mandela, Long Walk, 360, 384.

108 CBS television documentary, ‘Sabotage in South Africa’, 1962, CBS network interview with Albert Luthuli, Oslo, 9 Dec. 1961; Rand Daily Mail, 12 Dec. 1961; Couper, Bound, 138; Eric Mtshali interview in Magubane et al., ‘The turn to armed struggle’, 62; Natal Mercury, 8 Dec. and 13 Dec. 1961.

109 MLHP MSU, ‘About and to Chief, Hooper Notes’, 8 Dec. 1961.

110 Allen, J., Rabble-Rouser for Peace: The Authorized Biography of Desmond Tutu (New York, 2006), 209. One month before Luthuli departed for Oslo, the ANC issued a bulletin warning that it would ‘summon all our brain and brawn’ and not tolerate ‘peace in bondage’: Couper, ‘An embarrassment’, 340.

111 J. Guy, ‘Imperial appropriations: Baden-Powell, the Wood Badge and the Zulu Iziqu’, in Carton, Laband, and Sithole (eds.), Zulu Identities, 194. For an analysis of Luthuli's symbolic regalia at the Nobel ceremony, see Suttner, ‘The road to freedom’.

112 For Luthuli's Nobel lecture ‘Africa and Freedom’, see (, accessed 4 Mar. 2017.

113 Bernstein, R., Memory against Forgetting: Memoirs from a Life in South African Politics, 1938–1964 (London, 1999), 232.

114 Smith, Young Mandela, 282; Sisulu Robben Island Memoir, 129; Shubin, View from Moscow, 11–12.

115 In addition, since September 1961 a Liberal Party offshoot, the National Committee of Liberation (later the African Resistance Movement), had conducted over twenty sabotage attacks: M. Gunther, ‘The National Committee of Liberation (NCL) African Resistance Movement (ARM)’, Road to Democracy I, 241, 246–7, 249; Dubow, ‘Political alternatives’, 131–2.

116 Couper, Bound, 140; Simpson, Umkhonto, 37–8.

117 Simpson, Umkhonto, 37–42; UK NA, FO 371/177123, Apartheid South Africa, 1948–66, South Africa: Rivonia Trial, Folder 2, The State vs Nelson Mandela et al., 19; hereafter State vs Mandela.

118 Magubane et al., ‘Turn to armed struggle’, 120. For the politics of ‘Dingaan's Day’, see J. Sithole, ‘Changing meanings of the Battle of Ncome and images of King Dingane in twentieth-century South Africa’, in Carton, Laband, and Sithole (eds.), Zulu Identities, 322–30.

119 Ilanga, 22 Feb. 1947.

120 Simpson, Umkhonto, 46.

121 Curnick Ndlovu interview in Magubane et al., ‘Turn to armed struggle’, 90.

122 Bunting, Kotane, 69.

123 LP Schomburg, Folder 112, Box 6, Gcabashe interview with M. B. Yengwa, Nov. 1973, 58.

124 LP Schomburg, Gcabashe interview with Reuling, 16–17.

125 Ngubane, J., An African Explains Apartheid (New York, 1963), 108–10.

126 New Age, 21 June 1962.

127 Simpson, Umkhonto, 46; Landau, ‘“Turn to violence”’, 554; Couper, Bound, 149–51.

128 Golden City Post (Johannesburg), 25 Mar. 1962.

129 Mandela quoted in Bonner, ‘Antimonies of Nelson Mandela’, 44; MacMillan, H., The Lusaka Years: The ANC in Exile in Zambia, 1963–1994 (Auckland Park, 2013), 1415; Sisulu Robben Island Memoir, 129. PAFMECA convened in Addis Ababa during February 1962.

130 Mandela records that Luthuli did not remember the July 1961 meetings authorizing MK, although Luthuli chaired these two meetings that ultimately resulted in the formation of this guerrilla wing. More likely, Luthuli complained about not being informed of MK's initial operations: Mandela, Long Walk, 250; Naidoo, Shadow of Chief Luthuli, 72.

131 Kasrils, Armed and Dangerous, 9–50; Lissoni, A., ‘Transformations in the ANC external mission and Umkhonto we Sizwe, c. 1960–1969’, JSAS, 35:2 (2009), 288, 292. For Mandela's briefing of Luthuli, see Smith, Young Mandela, 315, 319; Naidoo, Shadow of Chief Luthuli, 73–4. For the CIA role in Mandela arrest, see Sunday Times (London), 15 May 2016; Washington Post, 16 May 2016. After returning from his continental travels in Africa, Mandela joined Sisulu, Nokwe, and Joe Matthews in telling international allies that the ANC commanded MK: Landau, ‘Controlled by communists?’, 231.

132 Joe Matthews interview, Telling Their Stories, 20–1; Lissoni, ‘Transformations’, 292.

133 Mandela and MK members Govan Mbeki and Joe Slovo devised Operation Mayibuye, with the understanding that sabotage was not enough to combat apartheid: Bundy, C., Govan Mbeki (Athens, OH, 2012), 115–18; Babenia, Memoirs of a Saboteur, 61.

134 UK NA FO 1117/2, Apartheid South Africa, 1948–66, J. Eden to W. H. Young, 10 Mar. 1964.

135 UK NA FO 371/167495, Summary Despatch No. 48, 13 Sept. 1963, British Consul-General Anthony Eden conversation with Albert Luthuli, Durban, 28 Aug. 1963.

136 For an excellent analysis of civil rights and ACOA networks, see P. Martin, ‘A moral imperative: the role of American black churches in international anti-apartheid activism’ (unpublished PhD thesis, George Mason University, 2015), 104–93; Nesbitt, F., Race Against Sanctions: African Americans Against Apartheid, 1946–1994 (Bloomington, 2004).

137 LP Schomburg, Folder 35, Box 5, A. Luthuli, ‘Appeal For Action Against Apartheid’, Sept. 1962; ERP Yale, African National Congress South African Freedom News, 1963 Aug. 21–1965 June 30 Folder (hereafter Freedom News), ‘No Arms for South Africa: An Appeal by Chief Albert J. Luthuli to the Peoples of the World’, May 1963. In 1962 Luthuli endorsed the UN Resolution 1761, calling on Washington and London to impose sanctions on South Africa. They refused: MLHP MSU, About Luthuli Folder, ‘Appeal by Chief Albert J. Luthuli’. In 1964 Great Britain, the US, France, and Brazil used the Security Council right of veto to prevent an African, Asian, and East European bloc from censuring Pretoria: Los Angeles Times, 13 June 1964.

138 Luthuli and external ANC operations: ERP, Yale, Freedom News; O. Tambo, ‘Comments and Observations by O. R. Tambo, Deputy-President, ANC (SA) on Proposals for A Security Council (UNO) Resolution on Apartheid’; A. Luthuli, ‘No Arms for South Africa, An Appeal by Chief Albert J. Luthuli to the Peoples of the World’, May 1963, South Africa Freedom News (Jan. 1964).

139 Kathrada, No Bread, 175–6; UK NA FO 1117/2, A. J. Eden, British Consulate, Durban to W. H. Young, British Embassy, Cape Town, 10 Mar. 1964; ANC leader Robert Resha forwarded Luthuli's message to allies at the UN: ERP, Yale, African National Congress 1964–1979 Folder, Letter R. Resha to E. Reddy, 21 Mar. 1964.

140 Meredith, Nelson Mandela, 275; MLHP MSU, About Luthuli Folder, Spotlight on South Africa, 2:24 (1964), 23. Reddy and Resha substituted language in the original document condemning the anticipated death sentence with references to life imprisonment: personal communication, Robert Trent Vinson with E. S. Reddy, 9 Sept. 2015; the original statement is in LP Schomburg, Folder 86, Box 4.

141 Broun, K., Saving Nelson Mandela: The Rivonia Trial and the Fate of South Africa (New York, 2012), 102–15.

142 ERP Yale, Chief Lutuli and the United Nations Folder, forged letter, A. Luthuli to U Thant, 2 May 1963.

143 ERP Yale, Chief Lutuli and the United Nations Folder, A. Luthuli to O. Tambo, 21 June 1963.

144 Sunday Times, 6 Aug. 1967.

145 Independent (South Africa), 21 Aug. 1997.

146 Dubow, ‘Political alternatives’.

We thank the editorial board and three anonymous readers for their critiques. The authors are grateful for the crucial contributions of M. Kirkwood, R. Suttner, P. Bonner, R. Edgar, W. Urban-Mead, J. Cabrita, and D. Mthethwa. We dedicate this article to the life and work of the late Phil Bonner, a great historian. To correspond with the authors, please use these email addresses: and





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