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LUTHULI MUSEUM (article first published : 2006-12-3)

The Luthuli Museum is one of the north coast’s best kept secrets, and a trip out to Groutville will reveal this gem of a national treasure

The Museum has been established in 2004 in the historic home of Chief Albert Luthuli who was President-General of the African National Congress from December 1952 until his death in 1967 and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960,

The home was a meeting place for people linked to South Africa's freedom struggle during the years of Luthuli's banishment. The opening of the museum marked the completion of the government-driven Albert Luthuli Legacy Project, which included the launch of an annual memorial lecture, and the unveiling of a bronze statue of Luthuli at the KwaDukuza Municipal Chambers, and of a memorial at the Groutville Congregational Church where Luthuli's grave is located.

The house that is now the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum was under constant police surveillance when Luthuli lived there.

Although Luthuli had been banished to his home by the apartheid government, many people travelled there to seek his counsel - among them United States attorney-general Senator Robert Kennedy, who arrived by helicopter for an unofficial visit in 1966. Luthuli and his guest held a private discussion on a concrete bench that is still positioned under a tree outside the museum. The two men discussed the ANC's vision of a united South Africa, and before leaving Kennedy gave the ANC leader a portable record player and recordings of speeches made by his brother, former US President JF Kennedy.

The ventilation shafts running beneath the floorboards were once used to conceal documents. According to the Arts and Culture Department, during restoration work on the building, workers uncovered a number of papers dating from that historic era.

For further information about the lecture call 032 946 0474 or go to www.umdwebo.co.za




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