Solly Sachs

Andrew Allen


Born on Emil Solomon "Solly" Sachs was one of the leading work union leaders of his time. At as young as 20 years old, he had founded his own small trade union for his shop, and was the honorary secretary until its collapse in 1926. However, that same year, he was elected to the national executive committee of the South African Trade and Labour Council. In 1928, he was appointed as the Secretary of the Garment Workers' Union(GWU) of South Africa because of his sympathy for the Afrikaner girls' poor living and working conditions. This Union is specific was Sachs' most successful and powerful trade union. Shortly after, in 1932, Solly was arrested, then banned, from the country for 12 months. While overseas during his banishment, he obtained films from Germany and Russia to bring back and show in South Africa. From 1939 to 1944, Sachs was instrumental in passing the Unemployment Act, the Unemployment Ensurance Act, and the Industrial Conciliation Act, which all helped with assissting the unemployed.The GWU continued to arrange protests to the South African government in the 1950s, which got Sachs arrested multiple times for his speeches to the mass crowds. In the next year, Sachs moved to England, but continued his support for the opposition of the South African government.


Emil Sachs' most important role in the struggle against apartheid was that of the leader of the GWU because of how he specifically worked for Afrikaner woman and their conditions. But what made the GWU so revolutionary in South Africa was that it transcended the barriers of color and class. He employed any women that had come looking for work because of the Depression, whether they be Colored, White, Black, of lower class, or upper class. All he did was separate them by race, so there would be no direct contact between different races.
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Works Cited

"Emil Sachs." Jeeva. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"All That Glitters." SA History. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Jews and Communism in South Africa." Volkstaat. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

"Garment Workers Union (GWU)." South African History Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.