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Saturday, November 9, 2013


(Betty Govinden, Pam Didcott, Heidi Gibson & Dr Jairam Reddy)

Chief Albert Luthuli was the longest serving president general of the African National Congress from 1952 to 1967. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 1960 and flew with his wife Nokukhanya to Oslo in Norway in 1961 to receive it.

An exercise book containing hand-written notes penned by Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Chief Albert Luthuli, has been officially donated to the Luthuli Museum by Pam Didcott, wife of former Constitutional Court Judge, John Didcott.

The remarkable discovery of the notebook was made by Mrs Didcott soon after her husband – a founder member of the Liberal Party and Chancellor of Durban Westville University - passed away in 1998 and had remained in her possession as a treasured memento ever since.

Entitled My Outlook - dated June 20, 1957, and signed - the original Tudor exercise book contains hand written notes by Chief Albert Luthuli on a number of different topics such as the “Spirit of Service to Humanity” and “Why I Champion the Cause of Freedom”.

It documents his education, membership and participation in other societies, his banning orders and notes around his deposition as a member of the Native Representatives Council. It contains rare insight of the influence of the church and Christianity in various areas of his life.

“I did not want to let it go but after Dr Reddy convinced me and, having visited the Museum, I know I am doing the right thing,” said Pam Didcott. “I am sure it will be looked after and preserved for many more years to come.”

She was accompanied by her friends Dr Jairam Reddy, chairperson of the council of the Durban University of Technology, and Betty Govinden, a retired lecturer from the former University of Durban-Westville.

“We are very excited about this donation and wish to use the opportunity to call on other members of the public who directly or indirectly knew or had dealings with Chief Albert Luthuli to consider handing over such historical or official documents or photographs or objects that are linked to Chief Luthuli for safekeeping at the Museum,” said Luthuli Museum Director, Brian Xaba.

“The notebook will be accessioned, catalogued and stored in a temperature-controlled environment. Further research of the book and its contents will take place for future historical reference. A copy of it will be placed on our digital on-line catalogue that is linked to our website. This will enable academics and researchers from all over the world access to a document that otherwise would have remained hidden away, “he said.

On the day of Mrs Didcott’s visit, Dr Reddy also handed over five black and white photographs. These record an occasion in 1993 when, accompanied by former Chief Justice Pius Langa, United Nations Head of the Anti-Apartheid movement Enuga ‘ES’ Reddy and former Durban Municipal Manager, Michael Sutcliffe, and others, he handed over to Mrs Nokukhanya Luthuli (“MaBhengu”) a taped audio copy of her husband’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

The Luthuli Museum is situated at 3233 Nokukhanya Luthuli Street, Groutville – the site of the former home of Chief Albert Luthuli. It was officially opened in 2004 by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki and is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the life and legacy of Chief Albert Luthuli.

“The importance of these photographs can’t be emphasized enough. They provide rare insight into what the house looked like then,” said Xaba.

Further information from Luthuli Museum Marketing Manager Heidi Gibson on 032 559 6822 or 083 410 7362 or email