John Langalibalele Dube

BY SHAHRUKH HUSSAIN

Early Life

John Langalibalele Dube was born at Inanda Mission station of the American Zulu Mission (AZM) in Natal on 11 February 1871. His parent’s names were James and Elizabeth Dube. He was an educator, politician, author, minister of the Congregational (American Board) Church, founder member and first president of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC). His middle name ‘Langalibalele’ means ‘bright sun’. He went to Adams School at the Inanda station, where his father served as a Congregational Minister. Dube published a book called A Familiar Talk Upon My Native Land and Some Things Found There. His work reflected the conflict Dube experienced as a mission-educated person struggling to find a balance between his traditional ethnic roots and Christian teachings. He married Nokutela Mdima after returning from America. He built two churches and a missionary school. In 1935 he was elected to the Executive of the All African Convention. In 1935, Dube founded the Natal Bantu Teachers' Association. Dube was successful in contributing to the political and socio-economic development of Blacks in Natal.

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Apartheid

Dube established links with similar leaders to form the Natal Native Congress (NNC) in July 1900. In the NNC, Dube advocated equality and justice for all. He hoped to close the widening gap between the Whites and Blacks of South Africa. The skills of editing and publishing that Dube develope were used when he established the first Zulu newspaper, Ilanga Lase Natal. Officially launched in April 1903, Dube’s purpose in establishing the newspaper was for it to be a voice for the black population, and to expose the idea of a united Africa. His newspaper included all the horrific events which reminded his society of the inequality. The paper was printed by International Printing Press in Durban, but from October 1903 it was printed by Ohlange. Sometimes he would include editorials and articles in English which were intended for the white settler community, the department of Native Affairs and the Natal Government. Dube hoped in this way to keep them connected to black opinion at the time. Black people used the newspaper to criticise government policies. Later, Dube was accused by the authorities for including resentment against the government. Dube used his newspaper to voice the opinion of the African society and had a big influence in the Apartheid movement.

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Citations

John Langalibalele Dube (1946) Available at: http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/john-langalibalele-dube (Accessed: 16 November 2015).
SABC Digital News (2015) Hundreds celebrate John Langalibalele Dube’s memory. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpCgNYxxy_A (Accessed: 16 November 2015).