Book Review: “The Man Who Founded the ANC”

By Bangirana Albert Billy, University of KwaZulu-Natal

We at the CIHABlog continue to raise awareness about critical figures that have shaped the historical and political terrains of the South African and African renaissance. In a detailed review of a book by Bongani Ngqulunga entitled, The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Dr. Christopher Merrett highlights the life of South African icon, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme. He describes him as “a man who despite his humble beginnings at Inanda (a then deprived school) managed to study at Columbia and Oxford universities, returning home in 1910. His overseas education took place at a propitious time for a pan-Africanist and he was internationally respected, in particular for his speech, ‘The regeneration of Africa.’

In previous CIHA Blog posts, we have looked at discussions of outstanding personalities that have forever impacted the way we interpret history. These included: John Langalibalele Dube – an educator, politician, pastor and writer by Professor Cherif Keita, Dr. Duma Ndlovu’s ‘Ghost Dance with John L. Dube and Steve Bantu Biko’, and one of a series of Dr. Christopher Merrett’s posts, Steve Bantu Biko’s ‘Black Consciousness’. Professor Cherif Keita has also presented Nokutela Dube, a long forgotten but never silenced key figure in South Africa who was the former wife to legendary John Dube. Other CIHA Blog posts have also covered individuals with extraordinary works such as: Albert Luthuli – ANC leader and Nobel Prize winner, John William Colenso – Victorian activist, Richard Turner – a philosopher of hope and the more contemporary Ahmed Cathrada – ANC stalwart and political activist.

Read Dr. Merrett’s full piece here.