Anton Lembede

Freedom in Our Lifetime

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“Throughout the ages, man has fought and struggled to free himself from one kind of serfdom or another. The history of man to emancipate himself from slavery by man is well known. It is the story of Europe after the French Revolution, of England after 1215, of South Africa after 1833, of Russia after 1917, of India, Egypt and Indonesia today.” When a group of young political activists met in 1944 to launch the African National Congress Youth League, it included the nucleus of a remarkable generation of leaders: Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Ellen Kuzwayo and A. P. Mda. It was Anton Lembede, however, whom they chose as their first president. Lembede was known for his sharp intellect, fiery personality and unwavering commitment to the struggle at hand. The son of farm labourers, Lembede had worked tirelessly to put himself through school and then to qualify as a lawyer. His untimely death in 1947, at the age of 33, sent a wave of grief through the Congress Youth, who had looked to him for moral as well as political leadership. “Freedom In Our Lifetime”, acknowledges Lembede’s early contribution to the freedom movement, in particular his passionate and eloquent articulation of the African-centred philosophy he called “Africanism.”
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257 printed pages
Original publication


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