Alfred Xuma

By: Troy Meservey


Dr. Alfred Xuma arose to high position within the ANC in 1940 when he became the president of the party. Born to a Xhosa family, Xuma rose to high social class becoming a doctor studying in both the U.S. and Britain. From the get go, Xuma desired to fix the organization of the opposition of Blacks in the Cape. Through his earlier years he also set minor revisions to the ANC Constitution that are neglected to truly be focused on. Alfred Xuma's fame came from the bonding he had of several anti-apartheid groups. Xuma began the connection of anti-apartheid groups that will continually be desired by several ANC leaders in the future. One of the unifications he made was a pact with the SAIC. Xuma's strive for the unity of the anti-apartheid movement as a whole created a further following of people, expanding and strengthening the influence across South Africa. In 1943, the Atlantic Charter Committee and Xuma created a document named "African Claims", which provided forth the charted path to racial equality in South Africa. This document did not have the power that the Freedom Charter would have, but can be considered a predecessor to the Freedom Charter. This document arose after the Second World War, which actually was a benefit to Xuma and the ANC because it provided an industrial boost. This boost led to the creation of more jobs and opportunities for the South African Blacks who were put in horrible occupational positions. All of this could not build enough of a basis for Alfred Xuma to stay in office longer because when the Youth League was created in 1944 there was an increased call for militant action. Xuma fell under pressure from this new call for action and ultimately led to his replacement by Dr. Moroka in 1948. Xuma's position within the ANC is credited with bringing many men into the organization, one of which being Nelson Mandela.

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Alfred Xuma placed the ANC in a much better position when he was replaced by Dr. Moroka in 1948. It is said that, "By the time of the apartheid election in 1948, the ANC was a movement transformed" (84). Ultimately the ANC was placed in a position at which they could truly challenge racial order at a higher level. Further analyzing specific pieces, Xuma's unification of several anti-apartheid organizations began what was eventually stressed on and found to be necessary for the ANC in the future. His involvement in the African Claims document is a direct predecessor of the Freedom Charter which became one of the most important, if not the most important document in South African history. The role he played was truly undermined when overlooking the whole anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, he is neglected the fame that he somewhat deserves. His role in the movement as a whole was not as much direct as much as being a predecessor and a figure for the future leaders to look at and acknowledge and expand upon. His work was a basis for what eventually signifies the anti-apartheid movement as a productive movement. The most under looked part of his career is his influence on gaining more members into the ANC, both figures that will become well-known and just normal citizens. Alfred Xuma was partially responsible for bringing in Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Oliver Tambo who all become notorious for their incorporation into the anti-apartheid movement. It is his indirect and direct involvement in the future of the anti-apartheid movement, setting a precedent for what should become that makes Alfred Xuma such an important figure to the anti-apartheid movement.
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Zuma honours Xuma, calls for empowerment of youth, women

Works Cited

"Alfred Bitini Xuma." Alfred Bitini Xuma. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <>.

"Biography." African National Congress Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <>.

Clinton, Peter, and Rogers M. "The Role and Significance of Key Individuals and Groups." Oxford IB Diploma Programme: Rights and Protest. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <>.

N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <>.

Young Alfred Xuma. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <>.