Yusuf Dadoo Biography

Liam Greene

Dadoo's early life

He was born on 5 September 1909 and died on 19 September 1983 at the age of 74 from prostate cancer. Throughout his early life, he had repeatedly gone against the norm and rebelling, even against his parents, by raising funds and peaceful acts at a young age. He attended Edinburgh University after being expelled from studying medicine in London. He received his degree in 1936 where he returned to South Africa to deal with racial discrimination there, continuing to be very politically active.

Return to South Africa

He created a medical practice shortly after his arrival and in 1938 was a founder of the Non-European United Front (NEUF), which supported his beliefs similar to those of Ghandi. He later tried to form a passive resistance campaign to apartheid, but it was postponed to Ghandi's personal request which made him join the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) which focused on an anti war front during the start of WWII. In 1947, Yusuf, Monty Naicker, and Alfred Xuma signed the three doctors pact between the ANC, TIC and NIC calling for the right to vote, equal opportunity, education and freedom of movement for Non-Europeans in South Africa. The Np forced the communists of South Africa to go underground in 1948. As president of the SAIC, Yusuf joined the ANC for the Defiance Campaign against apartheid. Underground, he helped orchastrate the resistance; he even wrote the drafts of the Freedom Charter. The government kept on trying to ban him from groups and start up resistances so much so that in 1957, they banned him from speaking to more than one person at a time. He was then smuggled out of the country, resisting arrest, to become an international spokesperson in London. After John Marks died, he was elected chairman of the SAPC, to where he served in exile until his death.

Freedom Charter Draft

We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:

that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people;

that our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality;

that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities;

that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief;

And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, black and white together equals, countrymen and brothers adopt this Freedom Charter;

And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.