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Reginald (Reggie) September (1923 - )

The Order of Luthuli in

Reginald (Reggie) September (1923 - ) Awarded for:
His lifetime contribution to the struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic South Africa.

Profile of Reginald (Reggie) September

Reginald (Reggie) September was born in Cape Town in 1923, the son of working class parents. Having completed his education at Cape Town's Trafalgar High School he worked as an apprentice in the shoe industry. As a factory worker, he was confronted by the misery of poor working conditions and exploitative labour practices.

In 1938, he joined the National Liberation League of Cissie Gool and James La Guma. In the early 1940s, he became a full-time trade unionist, organising textile and distributive workers in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. After spending two years abroad, he returned to South Africa in 1953 and became one of the founding members and General Secretary of the South African Coloured People's Organisation (known as the South African Coloured People's Congress after December 1959).

He was imprisoned for five months without charge during the 1960 State of Emergency and again detained in 1961 for helping to organise the May Stay-At-Home. Subjected to bans and constant harassment, he went into hiding for five months. In 1963, September was instructed by the African National Congress (ANC) to flee South Africa and was posted as the ANC Chief Representative for the United Kingdom and Western Europe, a post he held until 1978.

From 1978 to 1990, September was a member of the Revolutionary Council of the ANC in Lusaka, Zambia.

After almost 30 years in exile, September finally returned to South Africa in 1991 as a member of the ANC team that negotiated the future of the country with the South African Government. He was elected as Member of Parliament in the first democratic Parliament in 1994 and served until 2004 when he retired.

September dedicated his whole life to the struggle against exploitation and oppression. His loyal and humble service to the cause of liberation of South Africa and his wise counsel during negotiations marks him as one of the architects of the new South Africa.