Pixley Seme

1881-1951

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Accomplishments

Pixley Seme was known for being the first black South African lawyer. He was awarded the Curtis medal in his senior year at Columbia university for his speech, The Regeneration of African. He then went on to study law at Oxford. Seme moved back to South Africa in 1911 with the hopes of unifying the African people. In 1912 he established and became president of the South African Native National Congress.

Significance

Seme was significant to the Apartheid movement because his founding of the SANNC was the precursor of the ANC. The SANNC also would not have survived without Seme's connections to the Zulu and Swazi Royal families which he used to get funding for the organization. Seme also began the SANNC's newspaper, the Bantu-Batho. This was significant because it informed the African people and stirred them up against Apartheid. Seme took a case for the Swazi Regent in a dispute with the British government, but he lost the case and started heavily drinking. Seme was responsible for many wonderful contributions to the SANNC but they ended there when he lost all interest in political action. He returned in 1930 as the president of the ANC but is said to have caused its downfall.