Today’s extract is about John Dube.

The Zulu child was born in 1871. He was supposed to be chief of the Qadi tribe – but, his destiny was a greater one.

John Langalibalele Dube grew up to do many things. He was a teacher, publisher, editor, novelist, poet – and politician. He was the founding president of the ANC in 1912.

Dube was born at the Inanda mission station of the American Zulu Mission (AZM). His father, Reverend James Dube, was one of the first ordained African pastors of the AZM. Dube was educated at Adams College, then in Amanzimtoti, and Oberlin College in the US.

He founded the Inanda Seminary Institute for Girls at Ohlange in 1901. He wanted them to have a Western education – but not lose their African culture. And he wanted black people to go into business. In 1903, he founded the isiZulu newspaper Ilanga. In 1930, Dube published Shaka’s Body Servant. He also wrote about the lives of Zulu rulers, including King Dinuzulu.

He was a conservative politician. His ANC was not the militant party of the 1960s. But he never lost sight of two things: human rights, and the need for Africans to stand together.

That was the message John Langalibalele Dube was preaching when he died in 1946.

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