n Historia - Returned to his rightful place
A.B. Xuma: Autobiography and Selected Works, Peter Limb (Ed.) : book review

Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Historians have been rather mixed in their attitudes to Alfred Bitini Xuma (1893-1962). He is widely credited with having refurbished the ANC's shambolic structures in the 1940s and having revised its constitution so that among other much-needed reforms, women were at last admitted to full membership. He is also credited with broadening the appeal and reach of Congress: witness the founding of the Youth League, whose young turks finally removed him from the presidency in 1949; or his role in taking the ANC into a broader Congress alliance, symbolised in the so-called Doctors' Pact. Yet he is also portrayed as an autocratic figure lacking the common touch and as a politically conservative in a radicalising era.

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