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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Gumede, Archibald Jacob (Archie)

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Gumede was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1914. In 1932 he matriculated at Lovedale Missionary Institute in the Ciskei and went on to study at the South African Native College (now University of Fort Hare) in the Cape, but dropped out after two years. He came into contact with Z K Matthews and D D T Jabavu who were lecturers during this time.

In 1936 Gumede returned to Natal. He joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1949, becoming Pietermaritzburg assistant branch secretary, and assistant secretary for the Natal ANC in 1951. Because the Natal ANC had not been sufficiently developed, he did not play an active role in the Defiance Campaign in the early 1950s, but was active during the call for the Congress of the People. Gumede led the Natal delegation to the Congress of the People in Kliptown, Johannesburg, in 1955, and also participated in the ANC campaigns against the extension of the pass laws to women, Bantu education and the removals in Charlestown and Roosboom in Northern Natal. He was arrested along with the other ANC activists and taken to Johannesburg in 1956. He appeared at the preparatory examination of the Treason Trial, but in October 1957 charges against him were dropped. While in Johannesburg, Gumede stayed in Sophiatown and had the opportunity to meet ANC leaders from all over South Africa, making this time important for his personal political development.

Gumede joined the Liberal Party as he believed that its policies were consistent with what he stood for, and maintained that the liberals were supportive of ANC members facing treason charges in 1956. He returned to Pietermaritzburg to continue working for the ANC. He was detained during the state of emergency following the 1960 Sharpeville massacre. Gumede was banned for a five-year period under the Suppression of Communism Act in October 1963, and detained in Pietermaritzburg until February 1964 in terms of the 90-day legislation. After working as an articled clerk and being admitted to the Bar, Gumede established his own legal practice in Pinetown, Natal, in 1970. In 1979 Gumede participated in the establishment of the Release Mandela Committee and became chairman.

He was involved in the founding of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Natal and was elected president of the UDF at its national launch in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, in 1983 along with Oscar Mpetha and Albertina Sisulu. In 1985 he was re-elected. In 1986, the UDF was banned and Gumede also received banning orders. He continued to practice law and help with various peace efforts. In May 1990 Gumede formed part of the ANC delegation, which met South African government representatives at Groote Schuur in Cape Town.

He died in June 1998.

Source: www.sahistory.org.za

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.