A. J. Sililo was a leader of the Location Advisory Boards Congress in Durban, and prominent in the All African Convention, he was elected to the Natives' Representative Council in 1937. In 1939 he was on the deputation of the joint African National Congress (ANC) and Location Advisory Boards Congress to the minister of Native affairs, on which he took up the case for the provision of better social welfare services to urban Africans. A member of the ANC's national executive committee during the 1940s, he was also provincial secretary of the Natal ANC, a position in which he drew the fire of militant Youth Leaguers anxious to oust Natal's old guard.

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