user preferences

New Events

Southern Africa

no event posted in the last week

Bernard Sigamoney, Durban Indian revolutionary syndicalist

category southern africa | history of anarchism | opinion / analysis author Friday December 12, 2014 16:38author by Lucien van der Waltauthor email tokologo.aac at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

A global movement, the anarchist and syndicalist tradition has influenced people from all walks of life. A notable figure was Bernard L.E. Sigamoney, born in 1888. The grandson of indentured Indian labourers, who arrived in South Africa in the 1870s, he became a school teacher with a working class outlook. [Italiano]
Bernard Sigamoney (1888-1963)
Bernard Sigamoney (1888-1963)

A hundred years ago saw the First World War (1914-1918) sear the globe: almost 40 million died. South Africa, as part of the British Empire, sent troops and workers to battles in Africa and Europe.

The country was hard hit by the war’s economic disruptions. As food supplies ran short, Sigamoney began addressing protests in Durban. He met the local section of the International Socialist League (ISL) – an influential revolutionary syndicalist group that opposed the war as a conflict between European imperialists and capitalists, in which the working class did the dying.

The ISL championed the rights of workers of colour and wanted workers’ control of production through unions. In March 1917, it formed a syndicalist Indian Workers’ Industrial Union (IWIU) in Durban, with members on the docks, in garment work and laundries, painting, hotels and catering and tobacco.

Sigamoney was one of the Durban Indians who joined the ISL; he was the new union’s first secretary. A very well-known figure, he chaired a major left congress in October 1917 and addressed the 1918 ISL conference. Sigamoney, the ISL and the IWIU supported IWIU waiters on strike in 1919, the 1920 strike by the independent Tobacco Workers’ Union and the Indian furniture workers’ strike in 1921. Sigamoney was investigated by police for instigating the 1918 strikes by black African dockworkers, but was cleared.

In the 1920s, Sigamoney returned to his family’s church, becoming a radical Anglican minister. He associated with the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), a massive movement that was partly influenced by syndicalism. In his later years, he was active in anti-apartheid activities, especially around sports. He worked with figures like Albert Luthuli and led the 1962 campaign against apartheid South Africa’s participation in the Olympics as chair of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SANROC).

Sigamoney died in 1963, a life well spent.

Related Link: http://zabalaza.net/
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Front page

Support Sudanese anarchists in exile

Joint Statement of European Anarchist Organizations

International anarchist call for solidarity: Earthquake in Turkey, Syria and Kurdistan

Elements of Anarchist Theory and Strategy

19 de Julio: Cuando el pueblo se levanta, escribe la historia

International anarchist solidarity against Turkish state repression

Declaración Anarquista Internacional por el Primero de Mayo, 2022

Le vieux monde opprime les femmes et les minorités de genre. Leur force le détruira !

Against Militarism and War: For self-organised struggle and social revolution

Declaração anarquista internacional sobre a pandemia da Covid-19

La révolution du Rojava a défendu le monde, maintenant le monde doit défendre la révolution du Rojava!

Anarchist Theory and History in Global Perspective

Trans Rights is a Class Issue

Capitalism, Anti-Capitalism and Popular Organisation [Booklet]

AUKUS: A big step toward war

Reflexiones sobre la situación de Afganistán

Αυτοοργάνωση ή Χάος

South Africa: Historic rupture or warring brothers again?

Declaración Anarquista Internacional: A 85 Años De La Revolución Española. Sus Enseñanzas Y Su Legado.

Death or Renewal: Is the Climate Crisis the Final Crisis?

Gleichheit und Freiheit stehen nicht zur Debatte!

Contre la guerre au Kurdistan irakien, contre la traîtrise du PDK

Meurtre de Clément Méric : l’enjeu politique du procès en appel

Comunicado sobre el Paro Nacional y las Jornadas de Protesta en Colombia

© 2005-2023 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]