Yusuf Dadoo

By Julian Wong


Yusuf Dadoo was born on September 5, 1909 in Krugersdorp, Transvaal, and is of Indian and Muslim descent. He attended various schools with other Indian children, as was required by Apartheid law, and had to travel 20 miles by train every day. Throughout his schooling life, he was influenced by Indian nationalists such as PS Joshi and Molvi Cachalia. After persuading his father to allow him to go to college in England, Dadoo met many Indian students there who actively campaigned against English rule in India, exposing him to another aspect of European colonialism. He then joined the British Labor Party and met many prominent communists, which led him to an interest in Marxist literature and the Soviet Union. Dadoo's father tried to curb this attitude by sending him to the University of Edinbergh, where he would meet Mohanbry "Monty" Naicker, who would become both his closest friend and ally during the anti-Apartheid movement. All the while, the situation for Indians and non-whites as a whole got worse every day.

Involvement with the Anti-Apartheid Movement

After completing his schooling in 1936, Dadoo returned to South Africa in order to continue the struggle against racial discrimination. He was elected to the Communist Party of South Africa's central committee in 1941, on which he would stay until the end of his life. He assisted in organizing countless protests, along with the Passive Resistance Campaign, a collection of protests somewhat similar to that of the ANC. He was arrested numerous times, sometimes spending time in prison, but he was almost always greeted by large crowds of supporters. Beginning in 1947 with the Three Doctors' Pact, signed by Dr. A. B. Xuma (ANC), Dr. G. M. Naicker (NIC), and Dadoo himself, anti-Apartheid organizations in South Africa began working together and collaborating. In 1950, the CPSA was forced, by law, to dissolve, and many leaders were exiled or forced into hiding. The South African Indian Congress quickly and unanimously elected Dadoo as president, despite his status at the time. Working with the ANC, APO, and FAC, the SAIC helped launch the Defiance Campaign, nationwide protests that aimed to draw attention both nationally and internationally. In 1953, the SACP began to have underground meetings, and Dadoo was unanimously voted leader. He continued working until 1960, in which events such as the Sharpeville Massacre, and the detaining of thousands of political activists such as Nelson Mandela and Albert Luthuli caused the SACP to decide that Dadoo should travel overseas to garner support. Dadoo then spend the next year traveling to London, Russia, China, and other places, hoping to get more support for the SACP and the anti-Apartheid struggle as a whole. Dadoo never again returned to South Africa, but instead spent the rest of his life traveling and meeting with international leaders, communist supporters, and SACP members until he fell ill in 1982. However, despite this, he continued working until his death after slipping into a coma on September 19, 1983. But, even after his death, he remained a threat to the Apartheid regime, as they instituted another five-year ban on Dadoo in 1986; three years after his death.
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Three Doctors' Pact (March 9, 1947)

This Joint Meeting between the representatives of the African National Congress and the Natal and Transvaal Indian Congresses, having fully realised the urgency of cooperation between the Non-European peoples and other democratic forces for the attainment of basic human rights and full citizenship for all sections of the South African people, has resolved that a Joint Declaration of cooperation is imperative for the working out of a practical basis of cooperation between the national organisations of the Non-European peoples.

This Joint Meeting declares its sincerest conviction that for the future progress, goodwill, good race relations, and for the building of a united, greater and free South Africa, full franchise rights must be extended to all sections of the South African people, and to this end this Joint Meeting pledges the fullest cooperation between the African and Indian peoples and appeals to all democratic and freedom-loving citizens of South Africa to support fully and cooperate in this struggle for:

1) Full franchise.

2) Equal economic and industrial rights and opportunities and the recognition of African trade unions under the Industrial Conciliation Act.

3) The removal of ail land restrictions against Non-Europeans and the provision of adequate housing facilities for all Non-Europeans.

4) The extension of free and compulsory education to Non-Europeans.

5) Guaranteeing freedom of movement and the abolition of Pass Laws against the African people and the Provincial barriers against Indians.

6) And the removal of all discriminatory and oppressive legislations from the Union's statute book.

This Joint Meeting is therefore of the opinion that for the attainment of these objects it is urgently necessary that a vigorous campaign be immediately launched and that every effort be made to compel the Union Government to implement the United Nations' decisions and to treat the Non-European peoples in South Africa in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter.

This Joint Meeting further resolves to meet from time to time to implement this Declaration and to take active steps in proceeding with the campaign.


Dr. Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo (no date) Available at: http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/dr-yusuf-mohamed-dadoo (Accessed: 16 November 2015).

Three Doctors` Pact (March 9, 1947) (no date) Available at: http://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/three-doctors-pact-march-9-1947 (Accessed: 16 November 2015).