Yusuf Dadoo Timeline: 1980 - 1989

Yusuf Dadoo Timeline: 1980 - 1989

1980

January 24, The Bulgarian Communist Party awards Dadoo the Order of Georgi Dimitrov.

October 20 - 22, Dr Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo attends a conference in Berlin on 'The joint struggle of the working class movement and the national liberation movement against imperialism and for social progress'.

1981

February 23 - March 3, Dr Dadoo travels to the USSR with Moses Mabhida, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) to attend the 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

March 29, Dr Dadoo attends a meeting of the African Communists and Workers Party in Moscow.

July 30, Dr Dadoo speaks at the 60th anniversary of the South African Communist Party.  The General Secretaries of the Communist Parties of Great Britain and Ireland also attend.

He writes introduction to the book South African Communists Speak published by Inkululeko Publications, edited by Brian Bunting.

September 11-13, Dadoo visits Portugal.  He also travels to Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Germany to attend their respective Communist Party Congresses.

1982

Dadoo presents a message on behalf of the South African Communist Party on the occasion of the century of the birth of Georgi Dimitrov in Sofia.

Dadoo is diagnosed as having cancer.  His doctors advise that he has to have surgery.  He travels to Czechoslovakia, for a second opinion, and is advised that surgery is his only hope.  The surgery is performed in London, however, it is unsuccessful.

1983

July, Dadoo's condition deteriorates further and he decides to seek medical attention in Moscow.  Doctors in Moscow inform him that nothing can be done for him medically, his condition is terminal.  His friends recall that he was in great pain but insisted on speaking when called upon to do so at Father Trevor Huddleston's 70th birthday party in London and at the relocation of the London Anti-Apartheid Movement's offices to the newly named Mandela Street in London.  News of his illness spreads and messages of concern came from all over.  Dadoo drafts a message, which is sent to all his supporters in South Africa.

The SACP holds its Central Committee meeting in Moscow.  For the first time, Dadoo is absent from a Central Committee meeting.  The meeting aims to formulate SACP policy on trade unions with an emphasis on encouraging the work of Communists in South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU).  By this time Dadoo is in hospital.  He sends a message to the meeting.

September 19, His last days are spent in a hospital where he drifts in and out of a coma.  Friends and colleagues visit him.  His brother, Ibrahim and sisters, Amina and Zuleika travel from South Africa to visit him.

Joe Slovo, who is to replace him as Party Chairman, also spends much time at his bedside and on one occasion, sings a freedom song, to which Dadoo can only wave his arms in tune.  He leaves a message to for the Central Committee of the SACP meeting that was taking place in Moscow at the time, written and signed hours before his death.

Dadoo dies with family and close Party comrades at his side. At the time of his death, his sisters-in-law recite the Quran at his bedside. He is buried at High Gate Cemetery, in a grave secured by the South African Communist Party, a few metres away from Karl Marx.

The inscription on his tombstone reads:

Yusuf Dadoo, Fighter for National Liberation, Socialism and World Peace a fitting tribute for a man whose last words were: You must never give up, you must fight to the end.

Condolences from leaders, colleagues, friends, Communist and Socialist Parties the world over poured into the South African Communist Party office in London.

In South Africa, a meeting organised in Lenasia to pay tribute to him is promptly banned, as are two pamphlets entitled, 'Yusuf Dadoo: Portrait of a Freedom Fighter'' and "Yusuf Dadoo 1909 - 1983". He fought for our freedom; he died our leader.

Last updated : 30-Oct-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 04-Apr-2011

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