Subscribe to South Asia Citizens Wire | feeds from | @sacw
Home > General > South Africa: Call for Papers for Yusuf Dadoo Conference

South Africa: Call for Papers for Yusuf Dadoo Conference

4th - 6th September 2009, University of Johannesburg

by, 28 April 2009

print version of this article print version

Conference to Mark The 100th Anniversary of The Birth of Yusuf Dadoo

Hosted by the Centre for Sociological Research-University of Johannesburg and South African History Online.

September 4th - 6th 2009

Yusuf Dadoo: 1909-2009 –- Marxism, Non Racialism and the shaping of the South African Liberation Struggle

The conference forms part of a series of events to mark the 100th year of Dadoo’s birth.

Yusuf Dadoo left a formidable political legacy. This covers a number of fields spanning the relationship between transnational identity, racial identity, national liberation, socialism, non-racialism and internationalism.

Today we are challenged by the imperatives of globalization and the power of the nation-state, by neo-liberalism and the struggle for socialism, non-racialism and xenophobia. The labels might be different and the political conjuncture significantly changed but the challenges that animated Dadoo and his generation are similar. Dadoo and the liberation movements were concerned with the creation of a progressive global movement that would advance the interests of the oppressed and marginalized in the era of globalization. It is especially opportune then on this the 100th anniversary of Dadoo’s death to critically engage with the issues of this liberation struggle legacy.

With this in mind, South African History Online and the Centre for Sociological Research at the University of Johannesburg issues a call for papers for a conference to be held in September 2009 in Johannesburg South Africa. We are committed to critically engaging with Dadoo’s legacy, interrogating impulses of the time that might have been written out of history and crucially wanting to ask if the solutions that Dadoo and his generation sought in building non racialism and socialism have anything to say to the present generation and the striving to build a democracy in the context globally the contemporary configuration of economic and political power relations and locally the legacies of apartheid.. We envisage sharp intellectual engagement over a two-day period. We will allow sufficient time between the deadline for submission and the conference to give participants the opportunity to read the papers so that they can engage more meaningfully in dialogue. We hope too that this conference by focusing on the life and times of a leader who played such a major role in shaping our notion of an inclusive nationhood and whose personal integrity and sacrifice inspired generations of activists will in turn inspire new research and interpretations of the liberation struggle.


"He dedicated his life to the course of national liberation, socialism
and world peace" —inscription on Dadoo’s tombstone

THEME 1: Transnationalism: Indians in South African Politics and anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles.

Our concern here is not with the “Indian Problem” but with the creation of a new community arising out of the disparate class, language and regional groups that came from the Indian sub continent. We hope to explore the role played by Gandhi and the Indian Congress in the forging of a new Indian and South African identity and the struggles of immigrant communities for citizenship. We invite papers that respond to the following issues:

What was the nature of the relationship between the Indian elite and nationalism in South African and India?

How did this relationship inform or inhibit the emergence of the South African identity? How did Dadoo address this central issue in forging a common struggle?

Dadoo and his contemporaries received their early schooling in India - how did this shape their understanding of the use of non violence as a strategy in the anti-colonial struggle.

THEME 2: Dadoo in search of a United Front: Passive Resistance, ethnic
mobilisation, and the forging of multi racial alliance politics

The period 1939 and 1959 witnessed sea changes in the economic and political landscape both locally and globally. The coming to power of the National Party saw the inauguration of apartheid. The dominated classes responded with the building of the Congress Alliance and the launching of the Freedom Charter. Dadoo was central to these developments which saw the cementing of ties between communists and nationalists.
The period also saw the independence of India. India was at the forefront of the struggle to isolate the apartheid regime and the building of the non-aligned movement. Dadoo’s relationship with Gandhi withstood the antipathy between Communists and the Congress Party in India and this relationship was consolidated under Nehru’s leadership of India.

We are particularly keen to solicit papers on three themes

1). The debate in the 1940s over issues of class and race, non-racialism/multi-racialism, a single organization and separate organizations of the oppressed and disenfranchised. 2). The nature of the local Indian Congresses relationship with the Indian liberation struggle 3). The politics of the Congress Alliance and the search for a fighting non-racialism 4). Did Marxism inform the debates over political strategy and organizational form?

THEME 3: Dadoo, and the Armed Struggle

Dadoo through the 40s and 50s was committed to non-violent resistance. He like so many others of his generation embraced armed struggle. How do we explain this change in approach? How was the armed struggle conceptualized? What role did the Party play in this debate? How significant was the fact that MK was non-racial while the ANC was still limited to Africans?

These are among the themes we hope to solicit papers on.

THEME 4 : Dadoo, Tambo, exile and the liberation struggle in the Era of Cold War Politics.

Here we are particularly interested in the politics of exile. How did the Alliance reconstitute itself? How did the Alliance manage the Cold War divide? What was the SACP/ANC relationship with the Soviet Union? What was the relationship of the Alliance with the broader anti-apartheid movement? What was the relationship between the Party and the ANC? How did the Alliance react to revelations of the Stalin period?

THEME 5: Dadoo, Morogoro and the turn to the Left.

What was the significance of Morogoro? What was Dadoo’s role? Can the conference be conceptualized as a turn to the left? How did the Alliance respond to internal developments like the rise of the Black Consciousness Movement and the trade unions.

THEME 6: The Politics of writing biographies

Post-apartheid South Africa has seen a slew of political biographies. We want to have papers that debate the pros and cons of biography for the writing of political history.

Theme 7 We invite potential contributors to suggest additional topics that fall within the broad theme of the conference.


Deadline for abstracts: Date 15th June 2009

Format of submissions:

  • Presenters’ details (name, postal address, telephone and fax numbers, email address)
  • Title and organisational/institutional affiliation (if any)
  • Title of paper
  • Abstract of a maximum of 300 words in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format
  • Indicate to which conference theme(s) the paper is linked.
    Abstracts should be submitted to Omar Badsha at omar(at)


This will be a conference covering two days and two nights. The venue for the conference is the University of Johannesburg.

The conference fee will be R400, which will include, food and conference documentation. A 10% discount will be offered for early registration and requests for subsidisation will be considered. The organizers will also endorse letters to funders requesting that they meet the travel costs of those whose abstracts which have been accepted.

Special efforts will be made to accommodate student and representatives of former liberation Organisations and Trade Unions.

We are also putting out a call for assistance to compile an online
archive of documents, photographs on Dadoo, the TIC, SACP and the ANC
to form part of SA history liberation history and the Dadoo feature on

SAHO website