African People's Organization
By: Charlie Statires
Life and Accomplishments of the African People's Organization
The African People's Organization (APO), formally the African Political Organization was created in 1902 in Cape Town by Abdullah Abdurahman. The group was a Coloured party who fought strongly against the new national government, composed of Afrikaner interest, in South Africa. In the party's early years, its aims were to unite the coloureds and to defend their social, economic and political rights, thus explaining why they were formally called African Political Organization in their early years. But one of their biggest goals were to franchise the non-whites in government. Within 2 years of the party's existence it had 33 branches consisting of 2,000 members. In the formation of the Union of South Africa after the South African War, a formation of a white government, with no rights to non-whites even though the British told non-whites they would get rights for helping their war efforts. Because of the white government and all the corruption they brought, the APO fought for their rights in government and a vote in government. In doing this they would persuade white parties to bring the APO's cause up in government meetings. In 1909 the Nation Convention drafted the South African Act, in which created an all white parliament and disenfranchised non-whites,in other words did not allow non-whites to vote. This infused one of the APO's biggest goals they were trying to accomplish, the right for non-whites to vote. They created mass protests and they made meeting in hope to form partnerships with white and black groups. Some of the APO's members left thinking that the party was getting to radical. Their only way to stop the drafting of the South African Act was to appeal to Britain. Even the big fight the APO put up, the British approved the Act and the APO's fight was a failure. There was not many accomplishments that the APO had rather than rallying 2,000 people to gain membership into the group. The party came to an end in the early 1940s but also left behind and allowed other groups to continue their ideas.
Significance of the African People's Orginization
The African People's Organization (APO) was not a big success and was not a very big anti-apartheid movement group but did have some significances. First their fight was not to demonstrate to the public, but instead they took their fight right towards the government by interacting with white government parties and they looked towards the British parliament to help them with their fight by disapproving the South African Act. This is significant because other apartheid groups did not get involved directly with the government and other governments and direct as the APO did. Another significance is that the APO was one of the early anti-apartheid groups. This is significant because they left and lead an example for the future anti-apartheid groups that were very successful in the fight with apartheid. Even though the group collapsed in the early 1940s, the APO left ideas and gave ideas to other anti-apartheid groups that continued the fight. Another significance is that the APO was a group only for coloureds and this is significant because it allowed the coloureds to fight their own fight for the rights for coloureds and pursue coloureds' beliefs soly themselves.
Abdullah Abdurahman- Founder of the APO
South Africa Act (1909)