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John Dube

John Langalibalele Dube (1871 - 1946) was a South African educationalist and Zulu political leader. Dube was educated at the American Board Mission in Natal and went on to train as a teacher and then parson at Oberlin College in Ohio in the U.S. Influenced by the work of Booker T. Washington, he returned to Natal during the South African War intending to establish a industrial school for black schoolboys. While this venture was not successful, he was eventually able to raise enough funding through a U.S. lecture tour to set up the Ohlange Institute, a school with an industrial education department and eventually a girls’ department, on a farm he had bought. Later he set up and edited the Ilanga lase Natal newspaper, which he ran from 1904 until 1934. In this Dube frequently voiced criticism of government ‘native policy’ and he was arrested but subsequently released for comments he published about the government’s handling of the 1906 Zulu Rebellion.

While Dube took part in the 1909 conference of black South African leaders held in Bloemfontein to discuss the Draft South Africa Act, he was not part of the deputation led by Will Schreiner which travelled to London to protest the Act. In 1912 he founded the Natal Native Congress, which was later affiliated with the South African Native Congress, of which he was the first president. In 1914 he was part of a delegation of black South African leaders, including Solomon Plaatje and Walter Rubusana, to London to protest against the 1913 Natives Land Act. Dube eventually resigned as president of the Congress and focused his energies on running the Ohlange Institute. Dube was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of South Africa in 1936 for his services to education. 

For further information see:
L.D. Ngcongco (1977) ‘Dube, John Langalibalele’ in (eds) D.W. Kruger & C.J. Beyers Dictionary of South African Biography¬† Vol III Pretoria: National Council for Social Research, pp. 242 - 243
Shula Marks (1970) Reluctant Rebellion: The 1906-8 Disturbances in Natal Oxford: Clarendon Press
Heather Hughes (2011) First President: A Life of John L. Dube, Founding President of the ANC South Africa, Auckland Park: Jacana
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