Yusuf Dadoo

By: Mitchell Roy

The Life of Yusuf

Yusuf Dadoo was born in Transvaal to Indian parents. At age 10, Yusuf's father was put on trial because whites in the area were unhappy that a colored man's business was doing so well. However, Gandhi won the case for Yusuf's father and he was allowed to keep his business at its location. Dadoo was educated very well, and went to India for college because he could not find a school that would accept him in South Africa. After returning from school in India, Dadoo then went to London to earn a degree in medicine. He became politically involved during his time in the United Kingdom, and was even arrested for protesting. Upon his return to South Africa, Dadoo started participating in the anti-apartheid movement. Yusuf became involved with the Transvaal Indian Congress, and after this group fell apart, he joined the South African Communist Party. Then, after the communist party was forced to go underground by the NP government, Dadoo was elected president of the South African Indian Congress in 1950. After he was banned from the SAIC in 1952, Yusuf Dadoo began operating the South African Communist Party underground. Dadoo received many bans yet continued to disobey the government's orders and successfully avoided being imprisoned. In 1960, Dadoo was persuaded by the leaders of the SACP and SAIC to leave the country and act as a foreign ambassador to the anti-apartheid movement in London. Despite the fact that he wasn't living anywhere close to South Africa, Dadoo was elected president of the SACP in 1972. Yusuf Dadoo remained in London until he died of prostate cancer in 1983.

The Significance of Yusuf's Accomplishmnets

The first major event to occur in Yusuf Dadoo's life, his father and Mahatma Gandhi winning the case to allow his father's business to remain where it was, showed the idea that Indians in South Africa could win the respect of the court system even when the first stages of apartheid were underway. This alone shows the great transformation of South African society in a matter of 30 years. Had this trial taken place under the NP government, Dadoo's father never would have stood a chance of winning. Much later in his life, Dadoo linked the ANC to SACP, instilling communist ideas in the group. It is these thoughts which resulted in the Rivonia Trial, sending all of the leaders of the ANC to court, and finding all but one guilty of plotting to overthrow the apartheid government. Had Dadoo stayed clear of the ANC with his plans for the SACP, the apartheid system may have ended much sooner than it did, for all of its leaders would not have been sentenced to life in prison. A more positive aspect of Dadoo's life in relation to the anti-apartheid movement is his living out the end of his life in London, where he acted as an ambassador. Yusuf Dadoo was able to spread awareness of the movement throughout the world, and especially in Great Britain. Later in history, the sympathy Dadoo put in the people of Great Britain towards the non-white South Africans successfully convinced the UK to join in the fight against against apartheid.
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Yusuf Dadoo Interview with Michael Kallenbach