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Friday, September 9, 2011


In the Shadow of Chief Albert Luthuli: Reflections of Goolam Suleman is based on the personal memories of Goolam Suleman’s friendship and interactions with Chief Luthuli. This account encompasses one of the many untold stories and reflections of lesser-known participants in South Africa’s Liberation Movement. Published by the Luthuli Museum, the book provides an insight into the Groutville and Stanger communities that includes information on the major events in Luthuli’s life as well as little-known occurrences. It also paints a textured and insightful picture into his public and private life, revealing many aspects of his unique character, his faith and humility, his patience and compassion and his resilience.

Furthermore, this story is a testament to the strong community support and engagement that existed and still exists today in Groutville and Stanger and emphasises the neighbourly qualities that Chief Luthuli held that were irrespective of race, gender or religion.

The book is also significant in that it highlights the role played by local activists Goolam Suleman and E.V Mahomed who forged a strong relationship with the Chief that spanned over two decades. Given the constant Special Branch surveillance that always surrounded Chief Luthuli and the harshness of his banning orders, he depended heavily on Suleman and Mahomed. Despite the very real risks of police harassment, unlawful arrests and detention, they supported the Chief in his work as the people’s leader. This was certainly not common at a time when the moral decencies of contact between people were dramatically being outlawed by the Government.

Suleman and Mahomed ensured that the Chief had the facilities and infrastructure that he required to continue with his work, offering the use of their homes and businesses in Stanger for him to host many secret political meetings. In addition, the two were trusted with arranging couriers for the Chief, receiving correspondence for him, transporting him to meetings and finding suitable venues for him to receive important visitors. All of this had to be done in the outmost secrecy.

In short, the book recognizes the role played by the ordinary committed citizens who risked all by pitching in to help the great leaders in the time of repression. Not only is it a personal tribute to a great leader from a friend and admirer but it is a tribute to the men and women of Stanger who contributed tirelessly to a free and just South Africa.

In the Shadow of Chief Albert Luthuli: Reflections of Goolam Suleman is authored by Logan Naidoo and contains forewords by Professor Kader Asmal and Jane Ngobese (daughter of Chief Albert Luthuli). The recommended retail price is R100 plus VAT and the book is available at selected outlets in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg and can also be ordered by emailing the Luthuli Museum ( ISBN 978- 0-621-39747-5