Isaac Bangani Tabata


Isaac Bangani Tabata, political activist and author, was born near Queenstown in the Cape and educated at Lovedale and Fort Hare. In 1931 he left university and moved to Cape Town, where he worked as a truck driver, joined the Lorry Drivers' Union and became a member of its executive. He also joined the Cape African Voters' Association. In 1933 he began attending meetings of the Trotskyist-oriented Lenin Club and subsequently helped found the Workers' Party of South Africa, an offshoot of the Lenin Club. In the early 1940s he was one of a group of radicals who took over the leadership of the All African Convention (AAC), arguing for a boycott of all racial structures proposed by the government, and he helped to found the Non-European Unity Movement. As an organiser for the AAC he made yearly trips to the Transkei in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He was banned in 1956. In 1961 he established and became president of the African People's Democratic Union of Southern Africa. Tabata was married to Jane Gool, also a political activist. They left South Africa in 1963 and lived in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Tabata's writings include The Rehabilitation Scheme: 'A New Fraud' (1946), The All-African Convention: the Awakening of a People (1950), Boycott as a Weapon of Struggle (1952), and Education for Barbarism.

Source: Allison Drew, ed., South Africa's Radical Tradition: A Documentary History, vol. 1, Cape Town: University of Cape Town, Buchu and Mayibuye, 1996.
Allison Drew's home page
South African Politics: An Online Introduction