Dr. Alfred Bitini Xuma

Cary Lee

African National Congress President December 1940-1949

Dr. Alfred Bitini Xuma was born on March 8, 1893 in Manzana on his family's farm. Through his father's beliefs, he began to teach at the age of 18 at primary schools. This lasted for 18 months until he decided to travel to the United States to continue his education. 15 years later, he was an aspiring doctor looking for work in his home country of Africa. Also becoming involved in politics, Xuma became Vice-President for the All African Conference (AAC) which occurred in December of 1935 where he and many others coordinated opposition to the Natives Bills.

Involvement in the ANC

December 16 1940, Xuma was elected President of the ANC. This presidency lasted for 3 terms or 9 years. During his presidency, his major contribution to the organization is the amount of revenue that he produced. By obtaining grants from Lieutenant Colonel James Donaldson, a wealthy industrialist, he was able to fund-raise 75,000 USD for the ANC. During his 1st term, Xuma drafted "The Policy and Platform of the African National Congress", which was an outline of his political plans for the ANC to "spark" African political initiative in South Africa. In December of 1943, Xuma ratified a new constitution for the ANC which effectively integrated women into the ANC and ran the organization through a committee. He also opened the ANC's first national office in the same year. Nearing the end of his 3rd term, his non-violence ideas were challenged by militant ideas from the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). Xuma was seen as "too passive" and thus lost his fourth term of ANC President to James Sebe Moroka who was backed by the militant ANCYL. Xuma's political dealings became minor and in May of 1961, hie developed pancreatic cancer and passed away 1 year later on January 27, 1962

"In conclusion, in the words quoted recently by our Prime Minister, Field Marshall J. C. Smuts, "I challenge you and all men of vision and goodwill of whatever race or colour to abandon the policies of the past for faith, for hope, for trust in each other. Take each others` hand and move forward to the destiny which is yours."

Thus South Africa may well adopt our Congress motto- "RIGHT NOT MIGHT. FREEDOM NOT SERFDOM."" -Alfred Xuma's Presidential Address

December 14, 1941


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