Chief Lutuli intended to address a meeting in Johannesburg on July 11, 1954, in protest against the Western Areas Removal Scheme--the forcible removal of Africans from their homes in Johannesburg to segregated locations. However, a banning order was served on him as he landed at the Johannesburg airport. He then issued the following statement to be read at the meeting.
Sons and Daughters of Africa!
On account of the ban re-imposed on me last night immediately after my landing at the airport, I cannot be with you in the flesh but I am with you in the spirit, and the spirit is a greater human force than the flesh. I am glad to bring to you not just the greetings and best wishes of your fellow-countrymen I have the honour to lead through the African National Congress, but to bring you also their messages of determination and assurance to be with you in your hour of trial, when forces of reaction, as represented by the Government of Dr Malan, seek to uproot you from your sacred shrines and castles - your homes - acquired through hard-earned savings. The fact that it is legalized robbery does not make the action less a sin.
Your invitation has given me an opportunity to reiterate my call for Resist Apartheid Campaign. We have met here today primarily to unitedly demonstrate in unmistakable terms our solidarity in supporting this Congress Call for Resist Apartheid Campaign, and for the Congress of the People Assembly, whereat people from all walks of life in our multi-racial nation will have the opportunity to write into this great Charter of Freedom their aspirations on freedom.
The Western Areas Removal Plan of the Government represents their major implementation of their apartheid policy and, no doubt, is a forerunner to what will be done in other centres; and so our Resist Apartheid Campaign in connection with this scheme must be firm and decisive. The fate of Africans in the cities of the Union rests on the stand we take against this tyrannical action of the Government. As leaders, we shall do all in our power to consolidate the country to oppose the carrying out of this outrageous tyrannical scheme. I must here publicly acknowledge with the deepest appreciation the support already given us by individuals and groups from other communities, especially our allies in the freedom struggle: the South African Indian Congress; the South African Congress of Democrats; the South African Coloured Peoples' Organization.
We are met here to express our utter resentment at the claim made by South Africa through its governments and parliaments since Union to determine and shape our destiny without ourselves, and arrogantly assign us a position of permanent inferiority in our land. Contrary to the plan and purpose of God our Creator, who "created all men equal", and to us too, not to whites only, He breathed the divine spirit of human dignity. And so we have all the human and moral rights to resist laws and policies, which create a climate inimical to the full development of our human personalities as individuals, and our development as a people. The laws and policies of white South Africa are no doubt inimical to this development. And so I call upon our people in all walks of life - Ministers of the Gospel of Christ, who died to save human dignity, teachers, professional men, business men, farmers and workers to rally round Congress at this hour to make our voice heard. We may be voteless, but we a re not necessarily voiceless; it is our determination more than ever before in the life of our Congress, to have our voice not only heard but heeded too. Through gatherings like this in all centres, large and small, we mean to mobilize our people to speak with this.
In large and small, we mean to mobilize our people to speak with this one voice and say to white South Africa:
We have no designs to elbow out of South Africa anyone, but equally we have no intention whatsoever of abandoning our divine right, of ourselves determining our destiny according to the holy and perfect plan of our Creator; Apartheid can never be such a plan.
Friends, let us make no mistake, the road to freedom is always full of difficulties. Before we reach the summit of freedom, many will have fallen by the wayside as a result of enemy action; and others through personal despondency may abandon the fight. But I call upon you as true sons of South Africa to be true to Africa, a nd count no sacrifice too great for her redemption. Now and here, I call upon all men and women present to pledge themselves and come forward to enlist themselves as Volunteers in this noble cause of freedom under the rallying cry of Resist Apartheid Campaign. I am confident that this my call will, as in the past, provoke the greatest response which will shake to repentance the hearts of white South Africa.