About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

South African Indian Congress (SAIC)

The SAIC was formed in 1923 under prominent SACP* member Yusuf Dadoo. It should be distinguished from the South African Indian Council.* The SAIC was set up in reaction to discriminatory legislation affecting Indians and served as an umbrella body for the regional Indian councils, notably the NIC* and the Transvaal Indian Council. It later cooperated closely with the ANC* in the Defiance Campaign* joining the Congress Alliance,* an anti-apartheid body formed in 1954 that pledged itself to a united liberation struggle. The SAIC was also closely involved in drawing up the Freedom Charter.* In the late 1950s it was left virtually powerless by the banning or house arrest of most of its leaders. Later, however, prominent Indians, many of them members of the SACP, played a crucial role in the ANC's liberation struggle, because using their influence with the Soviet Union and operating from ANC bases outside South Africa, they were able to acquire support and significant financial backing – far more than any other African liberation movement – from Russia. This support became an important element of the ANC's success in 1994.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.