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Msizi Harrison Dube (Posthumous)

The Order of Luthuli in

Msizi Harrison Dube (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His excellent contribution to the struggle for liberation, and his persistent pursuit of justice and better living conditions for his community in particular and the people of South Africa in general.
Profile of Mr Msizi Harrison Dube

Mr Msizi Harrison Dube was born in 1933 in Glencoe, northern KwaZulu-Natal. In the 1940s his family moved to the Durban area, where he enrolled at Lourem Secondary School. Black families were later forcibly removed from the city in terms of apartheid’s racial segregation laws and the school was closed.

His family subsequently settled in Lamontville, a township in the south of Durban, which had no high school at the time.

Dube was then sent to the Inkamane High School, a Roman Catholic school in Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal. This is where his political activism began, which led to his expulsion from the school, despite his father’s pleas. At the time of his expulsion, Dube had already joined the African National Congress (ANC).

At home, he attended political meetings and his activism deepened further when he was admitted to Adams College in Amanzimtoti where stalwarts like Albert Luthuli and Joshua Nkomo had also attended school.
Dube completed his matric in 1952 with grades so good that he was offered a government bursary to study medicine, which he turned down because he saw it as a bribe to silence him. Instead he teamed up with Lamontville Struggle stalwart Ms Florence Mkhize, affectionately known as Mam Flo, to form the ANC’s Lamontville branch in 1953.

He worked for two years at the Department of Native Affairs but left after he questioned the lack of parity in pay between him and his white colleagues. He then joined the Department of Justice as a clerk. Again, he questioned the lack of parity and was subsequently transferred to Bergville in an attempt to shut him up.

He chose to resign instead, reportedly against his father’s advice. He then played a key role in the Durban potato campaign, which encouraged people to boycott potatoes. He was also part of a team that fought against the introduction of the Bantu Education curriculum in Lamontville schools.

As a sign of his  increasing and strengthening community leadership, Dube co-founded the Joint Residents Association, which included residents from Lamontville and neighbouring Chesterville. He is best known for his role in founding the Asinamali campaign against rent increases in Lamontville.

In 1959, Dube and other ANC members resisted when the then Durban City Council forcibly removed black people from Cator Manor to the township of KwaMashu, a few kilometres north of Durban. He was also a great opponent of the advisory boards established by the apartheid government to control black townships.

Affectionately known as “The Sheriff ” for his immaculately trimmed moustache and “the hero of Lamontville”, Dube continued to lead popular resistance campaigns in Lamontville and surrounding areas in the ensuing years, earning the wrath of apartheid local police and authorities through imprisonment, surviving numerous assassination attempts until he was finally assassinated in 1983.

Although his assassins were arrested soon after, his death led to perhaps the biggest township resistance campaigns in Durban, spreading to the nearby Umlazi, Clermont, Chesterville and KwaMashu townships. Today, Msizi Dube Road and Msizi Dube Primary School, both in Lamontville, are named after this great activist and anti-poverty campaigner.