Luthulis’ hunt for the truth
‘We don’t believe train explanation’
FIFTY years after the death of former ANC president Chief Albert Luthuli, his family wants further investigation into his “mysterious death”.
Apartheid authorities said Luthuli was run over by a train and killed, but his daughter, Albertina Luthuli, said there were a number of things that did not make sense and still haunts them.
Albertina said the family rejects that it was an accident and believed her father was killed because of who he was.
“The purpose now is to find out from people that were there at the time.
“First, the story was that it was a windy day and he didn’t hear the train, they said his hearing was defective. That is utter nonsense. He was an extremely careful person, he was not reckless. He took caution. That was his nature. He walked that route many times.”
She said hospital records did not support what authorities had told the family. Albertina said her father died shortly after a visit he had with Robert Kennedy in 1966, and said the family believed there could be a link.
“They (the apartheid government) did not want Kennedy to meet with him in 1962, then my father died a few years later… they wanted to silence my father, but they could not succeed. It was a great frustration for them. No matter what they did they couldn’t make them disappear, the banning orders did not achieve anything so they decided to make it final.” Luthuli died on July 21, 1967. Albertina said the family was still looking for closure. “I still mourn him to this day. Sometimes you get a lump in your throat and a few tears run… I am doing my best to follow in his footsteps.”
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the party had not heard about the family’s intentions but said should they approach it for assistance, it would help.
“Anyone that comes to the ANC for help, we are always ready to listen. If they come, we would be willing to help.”
The South African National Civic Organisation said it supported the family’s call for further investigation as it would allow them and millions across the world to find closure.
National spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said Luthuli was a fearless leader and a symbol of peace and unity, hence his effort was recognised when he became the first African to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
“Chief Luthuli carried the conviction that apartheid degrades all who are party to it and the optimism that whites would sooner or later be compelled to change heart and accept a shared society.
“It is important for those who believed in his visionary leadership to look for answers regarding the circumstances surrounding his death.”
JUSTICE SOUGHT: Chief Albert Luthuli at his spaza shop in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal, in the 1960s. His family don’t believe apartheid authorities’ claims that he was accidently knocked down by a train in 1967.