Cecil Williams (1909–1979) was an English-South African theatre director and anti-apartheid activist.
In 1999, a film about Williams, The Man Who Drove With Mandela, was released.
Williams became a communist activist.When the communists were debating how to respond to the government's demolition of the Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg, Williams and Jack Hodgson were among those calling for the protesters to use direct force. He was a leading member in the establishment of the Congress of Democrats, and when the government declared a state of emergency following the Sharpeville massacre he was incarcerated in Pretoria prison.
Sophiatown, also known as Sof'town or Kofifi, is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Sophiatown was a legendary black cultural hub that was destroyed under apartheid, rebuilt under the name of Triomf, and in 2006 officially returned to its original name. Sophiatown was one of the oldest black areas in Johannesburg and its destruction represents some of the excesses of South Africa under apartheid. Despite the violence and poverty, it was the epicentre of politics, jazz and blues during the 1940s and 1950s. It produced some of South Africa's most famous writers, musicians, politicians and artists.
John Venner Hodgson (1913–1970) was a footballer who played in the Football League for Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby Town.
The South African Congress of Democrats (SACOD) was a radical, left, white, anti-apartheid organization founded in South Africa in 1952 or 1953 as part of the multi-racial Congress Alliance, after the African National Congress (ANC) invited whites to become part of the Congress Movement.
Williams had an apartment on one of the upper floors of a Johannesburg apartment building.He allowed this apartment to be used as a meeting place between Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie Mandela when the former was in hiding.
Williams had befriended a wealthy elderly white woman named Mrs Sharp, who bought him gifts and provided him with money; she gave him a large Austin Westminster car.This car was sometimes used by Mandela, when he was pretending to be a chauffeur.
The Austin Westminster series are large saloon and estate cars that were sold by the British manufacturer Austin from 1954, replacing the A70 Hereford. The Westminster line was produced as the A90, A95, A99, A105, and A110 until 1968 when the new Austin 3-Litre took its place. Essentially badge-engineered versions of the Farina Westminsters were also produced using the premium Wolseley and Vanden Plas marques. 101,634 Westminsters were built.
Mandela wanted to travel to Natal in order to meet with Albert Luthuli in order to discuss the ANC's relationship with the Pan-African Congress.He was then based in Lilliesleaf, and set off with Williams in the latter's car; Mandela pretended to be a chauffeur. They visited Durban, where Mandela met with Ismail Meer and his wife Fatima Meer, and then drove to Groutville, where Mandela met with Luthuli. Driving back to Johannesburg on the afternoon of Sunday 5 August, they were overtaken by a police car while passing Howick. The police car, soon followed by two others, flagged Mandela and Williams down; Mandela hid his pistol and notebook between the two front seats. Mandela informed the police that his name was David Motsamai, although they replied that they were aware of his real identity and that he and Williams were under arrest. The police drove the pair to Pietermaritzburg, locking them in separate cells.
The Pan-African Congress — following on from the first Pan-African Conference of 1900 in London — was a series of seven meetings, held in 1919 in Paris, 1921 in London, 1923 in London, 1927 in New York City, 1945 in Manchester, 1974 in Dar es Salaam, 1994 in Kampala, and 2014 in Accra that were intended to address the issues facing Africa as a result of European colonization of most of the continent.
Durban is the third most populous city in South Africa—after Johannesburg and Cape Town—and the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Located on the east coast of South Africa, Durban is famous for being the busiest port in the country. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. Durban forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes neighboring towns and has a population of about 3.44 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. In 2015, Durban was recognised as one of the New7Wonders Cities.
Fatima Meer was a South African writer, academic, screenwriter, and prominent anti-apartheid activist.
Williams was subsequently placed under 12-hour house arrest.
After his release Williams fled South Africa. He later lived in Glasgow, where he worked as a theatre director and campaigned with the Glasgow group of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.
Williams was gay.Mandela biographer Martin Meredith described Williams as "a debonair figure".
Inkosi Albert John Lutuli, also known by his Zulu name Mvumbi, was a South African teacher, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and politician. Luthuli was elected president of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1952, at the time an umbrella organisation that led opposition to the white minority government in South Africa, and served until his accidental death. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid. He was the first person of African heritage to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Luthuli was a lay preacher of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) based at its Groutville Congregational Church in Stanger, KwaZulu Natal, where Luthuli was laid to rest upon his passing in 1967.
Donald James Woods, CBE was a South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist. As editor of the Daily Dispatch, he was known for befriending fellow activist Steve Biko, who was killed by the police after being detained by the South African government. Woods continued his campaign against apartheid in London, and in 1978 became the first private citizen to address the United Nations Security Council.
The Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws was presented by the African National Congress (ANC) at a conference held in Bloemfontein, South Africa in December 1951. The Campaign had roots in events leading up the conference. The demonstrations, taking place in 1952 were the first "large-scale, multi-racial political mobilization against apartheid laws under a common leadership."
Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, sometimes known by the nickname "Kathy", was a South African politician, political prisoner and anti-apartheid activist.
Ernest Urban Trevor Huddleston was an English Anglican bishop. He was the Bishop of Stepney in London before becoming the second Archbishop of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean. He was best known for his anti-apartheid activism and his book Naught for Your Comfort.
Allan Aubrey Boesak is a South African Dutch Reformed Church cleric and politician and anti-apartheid activist. He was sentenced to prison for fraud in 1999 but was subsequently granted an official pardon and reinstated as a cleric in late 2004.
The Treason Trial was a trial in Johannesburg in which 156 people, including Nelson Mandela, were arrested in a raid and accused of treason in South Africa in 1956.
Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap, which encouraged state repression of Black African, Coloured, and Asian South Africans for the benefit of the nation's minority white population. The economic legacy and social effects of apartheid continue to the present day.
Denis Goldberg is a South African social campaigner, who was active in the struggle against apartheid and was imprisoned for 22 years, along with other key members of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. After his release in 1985 he continued to campaign against apartheid from his base in London with his family, until the system was fully disbanded with the 1994 election. He returned to South Africa in 2002.
The Shell House massacre was a 1994 shooting incident that took place at the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC), in central Johannesburg, South Africa in the lead up to the 1994 elections.
Benjamin Pogrund is a South African-born Israeli author.
Thomas Titus Nkobi was a senior leader of the South African African National Congress (ANC) and a key figure in the Anti-Apartheid movement. Until his death he was the Treasurer General of the ANC and also its Member of Parliament.
Peter Magubane is a South African photographer.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.
Amina Cachalia, OLB was a South African anti-Apartheid activist, women's rights activist, and politician. She was a longtime friend and ally of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Her late husband was political activist Yusuf Cachalia. Her son, Ghaleb Cachalia, is a politician in the Democratic Alliance.
Evelyn Mase was a South African nurse, who was the first wife of the anti-apartheid activist and future politician Nelson Mandela, to whom she was married from 1944 to 1958. She was the mother of four of his children, including Makgatho Mandela and Makaziwe Mandela.
The statue of Nelson Mandela is a large bronze sculpture of the former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, located in Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg.
Sonia Bunting, OLS was a South African journalist, and a political and anti-apartheid activist. After being charged with treason and imprisoned, being detained a second time, and barred from publishing, she and her husband went into exile in London, where she joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) and organised the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners. When the African National Congress (ANC) ban was lifted in 1991, she returned to South Africa where she was involved in political activism until her death in 2001. She was posthumously honored by the government of South Africa with the Order of Luthuli in Silver in 2010.