Albert Lutuli
external image lutuli.jpg

Biography
Albert John Lutuli was born in 1898 in Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. He was the third son of John Bunyan Lutuli, a Seventh-day Adventist missionary, and Mtonya Gumede. Mtonya moved from Groutville to Bulawayo when Albert was born but moved back to Groutville a few years later once her husband passed away. Mtonya grew up in Groutville, since her father was the chief of a small tribe in the area.[1]

Albert benefited from a strong, religious education thanks to his mother who was determined to give him the best schooling possible. He eventually pursued a career in education, after going through a higher teachers’ training course at Adams College, where he later worked. For fifteen years, he pursued a career as an educator and believed in liberal and equal education for all Africans. In 1933, he became the president of the African Teacher’s Association.[2]

Aside from education, Albert was involved in the Methodist Church, becoming a lay preacher and working with different organizations in the Christian church. He also did missionary work in the United States in 1948.[3]
In 1927, Albert married Nokukhanya Bhengu, a teacher, and together they had seven children. In 1936, he became chief of his tribe in Groutville, a difficult decision that required him giving up his profession as a teacher. As tribe leader, he performed integral roles in his community, acting as a judge, mediator, executive, and representative for his people. He held this position for seventeen years but after becoming involved with the African National Congress he was dismissed as chief.[4]

In the late 1930s, the government started enforcing laws that explicitly discriminated against black South Africans, and in 1948 the government created a system of “apartheid” or apartness. In response to these discriminatory acts, Lutuli became involved in the African National Congress, “whose objective was to secure universal enfranchisement and the legal observance of human rights,” eventually being elected president-general at the age of fifty.[5] In attempts to limit his influence in the South African community, Lutuli was banned four times and arrested two times by the South African government, but these limitations did not reduce his impact in the movement.[6] In 1960, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and for demonstrating to “other nations of the world that human right can be won without violence."[7]

During the last few years of Lutuli’s life, he continued to fight for equality between whites and non-whites in South Africa, but he also struggled with many health issues such high blood pressure, loss of hearing and eyesight, and a stroke. On July 21,1967 he died due to complications after being hit by a freight train.[8]

ChallengeLutuli’s life was devoted to creating equality in an unequal society, run by an unjust government, through the practice of politics. The South African government tried everything to prevent him from promoting the efforts of the ANC, but banning and arresting him did not stop Lutuli. He was determined and optimistic about the potential for white South Africans and black South Africans to live in “a community where the white and nonwhite in South Africa can live in harmony and work for [their] common fatherland, sharing equally the good things of life which [their] country can give us in abundance."[9]

The first personal challenge he faced was choosing between being a teacher and being a tribe leader. This decision took him two years because he really struggled giving up his passion and the economic stability of his job to become the leader of his tribe, but he ultimately chose the second option. He chose this path because it was a great honor to be chosen by his people for this role, and he wanted to help his community grow as individuals and as a tribe under his leadership.[10]

Seventeen years later, he faced another personal challenge, which was being dismissed as tribe leader because of his involvement with the ANC because his involvement was seen as “an act of treason."[11] He loved being the chief of his tribe, but he knew that it was for the better good of society and that by continuing to participate in the ANC he would be helping all South Africans, not just his tribe.

During his political activism, Lutuli was constantly facing institutional pressures. Right after he was chosen as president-general of ANC he was banned for two years from large centers and public meetings. Immediately after that ban was over, another one was reinstated prohibiting him from going anywhere that was outside twenty miles of his home. Shortly after that ban, he was arrested at an ANC conference, along with hundreds of others, and charged with treason and was held in custody for one year, until the charges were dropped. When he was released from jail, he was active on the political scene for about a year until he was banned again, this time for five years. He was prohibited from publishing any speeches or statements and was not allowed anywhere outside fifteen miles of his house. In 1960, he was arrested again, this time for burning his pass, a nonviolent protest against the “Sharpeville massacre.” He was sentenced to jail but was released because of his health. His last ban was lifted so that he could accept his Nobel Peace Prize.[12]

The presenter of his Nobel Peace Prize described Lutuli as a “fearless and incorruptible leader” a perfect way to define a man who was so successful in his efforts despite countless setbacks and obstacles.[13] Even though he was rarely ever physically present, he was still able to rally and unite the South African people. His speeches and statements inspired millions of people. The institutional challenge of fighting against such a powerful government was not easy and he chose the more difficult, but nobler approach to fighting against this power, which was nonviolence. Albert also faced many pressures from members of the South African communities. He had to appeal to both whites and non-whites, which was a struggle and led to conflicting opinions regarding Albert and his work. Many whites supported Albert because of his reasonable appeals. But because he promoted living in unison with whites and joining with the government to end the exclusion, many radical non-whites also criticized him. One instance, he was knocked off a platform by young Afrikaners.[14] Despite criticisms and pressures from different groups, he stayed true to his values and to the person he was.

Another institutional difficulty he faced was within the ANC. He had to deal with debates between old members of the ANC who wanted to continue to pursue peaceful approaches and new members of the ANC who wanted to make South Africa a completely non-white state. He has been accused of supporting the armed struggle, the stance the ANC took shortly after Lutuli won his Nobel Peace Prize, but this accusation does not seem accurate to many.[15] As the presentation speaker for the Nobel Peace Prize stated “if the day should come when the struggle of nonwhites in South Africa to win their freedom degenerates into bloody slaughter, then Lutuli’s voice will be heard no more."[16]
Lastly, a person challenge he faced towards the end of his life was issues with his health. He suffered from many health issues that prevented him from being present during rallies and nonviolent protests. He was old and weak but he pushed through his sicknesses and continued to fight for what he believed in right up until his death in 1967.[17]

Virtue Discussion
Prudence is a virtue that is evident in Lutuli. Albert used his experience in the education system as teacher, his experiences within his Christian faith, and his experience as a tribal leader to influence his viewpoint and the way he approached the situation occurring in South Africa. Through his work as a teacher, he realized the importance of equal education. His faith influenced his belief in nonviolence and equality. Lastly, his work as a tribal leader helped him understand the needs of his people and taught him how to work to protect and promote their need. All the skills he learned prior to his involvement in politics shaped his actions in the political movement.

Choice-worthy GoodAlbert realized that equality for all South Africans and an end to apartheid was the most important goal for him. He put this passion for equality and justice through nonviolent efforts above all of his other passions, such as teaching and being the chief of the Groutville Mission Reserve. He put things that he loved very dearly second to his passion for fighting for equality. He decided to put this passion first because he recognized that through politics he could help better the lives of all South African people, not just the people he taught or the people in his tribe. He could enact change on the national level, which would impact the lives of South Africans in a positive way for generations to come.
Within his political activism, he decided that nonviolence was his choice-worthy good. He decided right away during the movement that he would chose non-violence over violence because it would be the most effective way to bring about change in South Africa. He pursued this non-violent approach in every aspect of his life. For instance, when he was banned he never fought against the ban but rather accepted it. In addition, when he was being arrested he never protested against the policemen but accepted his fate in hopes that he would be let free. He lived the peaceful approach in his actions and inspired both non-white and white South Africans through example.[18]

Cultural IllSouth African apartheid started becoming law when the government “banned marriages between whites and people of other races, and prohibited sexual relations between black and white South Africans”.[19] In a population of 14.7 million people, only 3.3 million were white but somehow non-whites were treated as the minority.[20] The Population Registration Act of 1950 made it mandatory to classify all South Africans in regards to their race. The Land Act designated eight percent of the land in South Africa only for white minorities. “Pass laws” were put into place, which “required non-whites to carry documents authorizing their presence in restricted areas. " Lastly, “the government established separate public facilities for whites and non-whites, limited the activity of nonwhite labor unions and denied non-white participation in national government."[21]
The South African government directly instituted apartheid and Lutuli spearheaded a political movement against the government, a daring but incredibly brave act. The government made him fight hard and overcome the countless roadblocks they threw in his way. Through it all he stood up for what he believed in every opportunity he could through speeches, statements, and public appearances (when he was not banned). Non-whites had no voice and the ANC and Lutuli made it their mission to make their voices heard, which was difficult in this type of culture where the people have virtually no powers.

Another cultural ill that Lutuli fought against was that of an armed, violent struggle. In his piece, “The Road to Freedom is Via the Cross” which he wrote after he chose the ANC over being chief, he demonstrated his commitment to the nonviolent movement in his statement that nonviolence is the “only non-revolutionary, legitimate and humane way that could be used by people denied”.[22] This was very brave because it is easy to be tempted to use violent means to get a group’s point across, especially when a government is not afraid to use violence. In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech he urged “the people of the world” to “rouse themselves, and together effectively stamp out any threat to peace."[23] He fought against a government that was brutal and was determined to separate whites and non-whites with nonviolent, peaceful acts.


Works Cited
“Albert Lutuli-Acceptance Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-acceptance.html>.

“Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.

“Apartheid.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2013. Web. 28 Oct 2013. <http://www.history.com/topics/apartheid>.

“Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.

“The Nobel Peace Prize 1960-Presentation Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/press.html>.

“The Road to Freedom is Via the Cross by A. Luthuli.” Anc.org. African National Congress: South Africa’s National Liberation Movement, 2011. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <http//www.anc.org.za/show.php?id-4646>.

  1. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
    “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  2. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
    “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  3. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
  4. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
    “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  5. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
  6. ^ “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  7. ^ “The Nobel Peace Prize 1960-Presentation Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/press.html>.
  8. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
  9. ^ “The Nobel Peace Prize 1960-Presentation Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/press.html>.
  10. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
  11. ^ “The Road to Freedom is Via the Cross by A. Luthuli.” Anc.org. African National Congress: South Africa’s National Liberation Movement, 2011. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <http//www.anc.org.za/show.php?id-4646>.
  12. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
  13. ^ “The Nobel Peace Prize 1960-Presentation Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/press.html>.
  14. ^ “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  15. ^ “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  16. ^ “The Nobel Peace Prize 1960-Presentation Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/press.html>.
  17. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Biographical.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB, 2013. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-bio.html>.
  18. ^ “Chief Albert John Luthuli.” Sahistory.org. South African History Online. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/chief-albert-john-luthuli>.
  19. ^ “Apartheid.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2013. Web. 28 Oct 2013. <http://www.history.com/topics/apartheid>.
  20. ^ “Apartheid.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2013. Web. 28 Oct 2013. <http://www.history.com/topics/apartheid>.
  21. ^ “Apartheid.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2013. Web. 28 Oct 2013. <http://www.history.com/topics/apartheid>.
  22. ^ “The Road to Freedom is Via the Cross by A. Luthuli.” Anc.org. African National Congress: South Africa’s National Liberation Movement, 2011. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <http//www.anc.org.za/show.php?id-4646>.
  23. ^ “Albert Lutuli-Acceptance Speech.” Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 30 Oct 2013. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1960/lutuli-acceptance.html>.