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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Felgate, Walter Sidney

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Walter Felgate was born in Pretoria in 1930. He matriculated from Pretoria Boys High in 1949 and completed an Honours degree in social anthropology in 1959.

When faced with segregation in the church during the time he worked as a law preacher in the Methodist Church in the 1950s, Felgate started questioning the morality of apartheid. He began to worship in an Indian mission in Durban after leaving a white congregation. Felgate joined the Liberal Party in an attempt to fight apartheid as membership of the ANC was restricted to Africans and the whites-only Congress of Democrats was too strongly Marxist for Felgate.

Felgate joined the Christian Institute in the mid 1970s and, in an effort to promote political reconciliation, became associated with the Black People's Convention (BPC) and the ANC. He also worked closely with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal, particularly from 1980 onwards, after leaving the recently-banned Christian Institute.

He is a former African affairs adviser for the Rio Tinto-Zinc Corporation in London.

In 1990, when the IFP membership was opened to all races, Felgate was the first white to join. He was appointed to the central committee and served on its executive committee. He was active in the process leading up to the signing of the National Peace Accord. Felgate served as an IFP representative at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) and served as the IFP's chief negotiator until the IFP walked out in 1993.

In 1994 Felgate stood as an IFP candidate for the National Assembly and was elected as a Member of Parliament. In 1998 he defected from the IFP to join the ANC and stood as a Member of the Provincial Parliament as an ANC member in KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: Gastrow, S. 1995. Who's who in South African Politics, Number 5. Ravan: Johannesburg.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.