Alfred Msutu was appointed Chief of Tyefu Location in the Peddie district, [Eastern Province, now Eastern Cape] in January 1905.  He was, however, suspended four times between 1920 and 1933 for ‘undermining authority and other alleged misconduct,’ and, between 1933 and 1952 for his stance of non-cooperation with the authorities led to repeated suspensions.

The Native Affairs Department (NAD) demanded that Msutu pledge an oath that he would undertake his duties in accordance with its policies; he refused and declared that ‘neither he nor his people wanted anything to do with either the Trust or the local Council.’

Msutu’s supporters were accused of inciting the ‘peace-loving Natives’ in the Location to disregard all administrative operations of the NAD in the area, and he was accused of supporting their disdain of the local Council. It was argued that given Msutu’s influence and support, simply deposing Msutu would be insufficient, he had to be banished from Tyefu Location in the Peddie District. On 8 December 1953, he was banished to ‘Riverside Natives Trust Farm’ in King William’s Town, [Eastern Province, now Eastern Cape].

Msutu, however, went into hiding. During this time, he reportedly took an active part in anti-state activities, and it was alleged that meetings of the African National Congress (ANC) were regularly held in his kraal. As was a familiar refrain in other cases, it was said that the inhabitants of the location were divided between the orde-liewendes (‘peace-loving’) and the ANC-led weerbarstiges (‘trouble-makers’). The latter were involved in the boycott of schools, churches, state institutions and white people in general.  It was claimed that white people in the area were afraid that their property might be damaged and asked for police protection.

The 1953 banishment order was only served on 11 January 1957. In the meantime, a successful legal challenge had been mounted which made a banishment order invalid unless a banished person had the opportunity to make representations against his banishment. As Msutu was not given this opportunity, a new order had to be issued and this was done on 15 February 1957.

Msutu’s whereabouts after his banishment are unknown – it was reported in parliament in 1963 that he had ‘absconded.’


Contribution by Professor S. Badat, on Banishment, Rhodes University, 2012

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