Doubly elite: exploring the life of John Langalibalele Dube

Hughes, Heather (2001) Doubly elite: exploring the life of John Langalibalele Dube. Journal of Southern African Studies, 27 (3). pp. 445-458. ISSN 1465-3893

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13632430120074536

Abstract

The first president of the African National Congress, John Langalibalele Dube, is well known as the leading spokesman of his day of Natal's African Christian elite. This article shows that his membership of another elite, that of the Qadi chiefdom, is central to an understanding of the role he played in the 1920s and 1930s in brokering segregationist alliances between white and black interests. The Qadi chief provided critical support to Dube throughout his long career; Dube, in turn, brought much prestige to the chiefdom. Moreover, Dube's connections caused deep rifts and raised many political questions over the idea of Christians associating with traditionalists, not only on his own mission station at Inanda but throughout colonial Natal. Yet his membership of two elites was also of a doubly subjugated kind: Africans suffered inferior status in the eyes of both the state and the church. He fiercely resented and rejected this. Yet his simultaneous desire for respectability and acceptance prevented him from breaking free altogether of the order that entrapped him, and produced in him so many of the ambiguities that Shula Marks has extensively explored.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The first president of the African National Congress, John Langalibalele Dube, is well known as the leading spokesman of his day of Natal's African Christian elite. This article shows that his membership of another elite, that of the Qadi chiefdom, is central to an understanding of the role he played in the 1920s and 1930s in brokering segregationist alliances between white and black interests. The Qadi chief provided critical support to Dube throughout his long career; Dube, in turn, brought much prestige to the chiefdom. Moreover, Dube's connections caused deep rifts and raised many political questions over the idea of Christians associating with traditionalists, not only on his own mission station at Inanda but throughout colonial Natal. Yet his membership of two elites was also of a doubly subjugated kind: Africans suffered inferior status in the eyes of both the state and the church. He fiercely resented and rejected this. Yet his simultaneous desire for respectability and acceptance prevented him from breaking free altogether of the order that entrapped him, and produced in him so many of the ambiguities that Shula Marks has extensively explored.
Keywords:Quadi chiefdom, African National Congress, African politics, Apartheid
Subjects:L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V253 Southern African History
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:680
Deposited By: Jill Partridge
Deposited On:25 Jun 2007
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:12

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