40 Years since the mysterious death of Chief Albert Luthuli

By Robin Sewlal

The Kwazulu-Natal provincial government and the Department of Arts and Culture are to host the 40th anniversary of the death of Chief Albert Luthuli.

President Thabo Mbeki in his State of the Nation Address, earlier this year, announced that the year 2007 will see the commemoration of a number of significant events in the history of the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.

The events included the 40th anniversary of the mysterious death on a train track of Chief Albert Luthuli, the 30th anniversary of the death of Steve Biko, the sinking of the SS Mendi which resulted in the death of 616 South Africans, the 30th anniversary of the banning of The World and Weekend newspapers, the visit of Afrikaner intellectuals to Dakar, and the 60th anniversary of the Doctors Pact.

Chief Luthuli was an outstanding educator, farmer, businessman, church deacon, traditional leader and the president of the African National Congress (ANC) until his death in 1967. He was active in the struggle against colonialism. Chief Luthuli's outstanding efforts in fighting for human dignity, political freedom and social prosperity led to him being the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

In recognition of his immense contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa, Cabinet approved the Chief Luthuli project as one of the national legacy projects in 1998.

The Inkosi (meaning Chief) Luthuli national legacy project comprises a museum, an annual memorial lecture and a public sculpture at KwaDukuza. The 40th anniversary of Chief Albert Luthuli's death will start with a series of events from 21 July, the date when his body was found on a railway track in 1967 in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal.

There will also be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Groutville Congressional Church where he was buried and a formal public event in KwaDukuza. Other events include a fun run/walk, theatre, music, discussion groups, a gala dinner and a formal visit to – and tree-planting ceremony – at the site of Inkosi Luthuli's death.

Satyagraha salutes Inkosi Luthuli, and celebrates his life with the rest of South Africa.