Henry Selby Msimang was one of the great South Africans of the twentieth century. Born in 1886 in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg, he was a founding member, interpreter and assistant to the Secretary General of the African National Congress in 1912, a president of the pioneering Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) in the 1920s and 1930s, General Secretary of the All African Convention (AAC) in the 1930s, a member of the Natives Representative Council and provincial secretary of the Natal ANC in the 1940s and early 1950s, a prominent member of the Liberal Party in the 1950s and 1960s, and thereafter a founder and executive member of the Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe in the 1970s. Such a long and diverse political career would make any person noteworthy, but Msimang was also an intellectual figure of remarkable talent – a prolific author and writer, journalist and public debater – and a man, who despite great trials and tribulations, did not compromise his principles and fundamental values, his commitment to the struggle for freedom, justice and human rights.
In short, the book deals with the universal subject of political decision-making and the complicated journey of individuals within political formations within the struggles for political liberation, human rights and social justice.
2. The early years of African nationalism, 1886–1916
3. Community activist and workers’ leader, 1917–1921
4. The politics of race, class and gender in Johannesburg, 1922–1936
5. ‘Native Representation’, 1936–1951
6. African economic emancipation
7. Relations between Africans and Indians in Natal
8. The ANC’s Programme of Action, 1949–1952
9. The Liberal Party, 1953–1968
10. Inkatha, 1972–1982