Find out why the Eastern Cape was such a political hotbed and why it was there that the defiance campaign began. Read in Raymond Mhlaba’s own words how those crucial first moments of defiance unfolded at the New Brighton railway station and what happened afterwards, including Mhlaba’s guerrilla training for Umkhonto we Sizwe in China, where his party was met by Mao Tse-tung.
RESEARCH: Text/archive — Tshepo Maloi | Photos, video — Nhlanhla Mthethwa
» 75 PIECES OF APARTHEID LEGISLATION
To consolidate its position after coming to power in 1948, the National Party government promulgated laws which deprived all non-whites of basic rights. Some of the laws enacted from the late 1940s and early 1950s are described here by Elinor Sisulu.
» DEFIANCE AT THE STATION: MHLABA’S MEMORIES OF THE MOMENT
In this excerpt from his memoirs, Raymond Mhlaba describes the chilling moments when the 1952 defiance campaign kicked off at New Brighton station.
» POLITICS AND PRAYER: THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN EASTERN CAPE STRUGGLE POLITICS
Religion was a heady part of liberation politics in the Eastern Cape, with prayers and religious fervour adding heat to the brew.
» WHY THE DEFIANCE CAMPAIGN WAS "MOST DRAMATIC" IN THE EASTERN CAPE
Historians Phil Bonner and Tom Lodge explore why participation in the defiance campaign was so passionate in the Eastern Cape, while, in his personal memoirs, Raymond Mhlaba describes local factors that contributed to the fervent support it received.
» THE ANC’S GROWTH AFTER THE DEFIANCE CAMPAIGN
The publicity the ANC received as a result of the defiance campaign and, undoubtedly, the tireless efforts of its leaders at branch and national level, helped the organisation to gain more members.
» MHLABA IN EXILE AND IN UMKHONTO WE SIZWE
After going into exile, Raymond Mhlaba underwent military training in southern China where, among other things, the Chinese taught him and his comrades hit-and-run techniques using self-made weapons.