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ZK Matthews Papers (ACC101)

ZK Matthews Papers (ACC101)


Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews was born in Kimberley in 1901. After finishing high school, he enrolled for a BA degree at Fort Hare, and completed it in 1923 – thereby becoming the first African to obtain a BA degree at a South African Institution. After private study, Matthews became in 1930, the first African to earn an LL.B. degree in South Africa, and was admitted as an attorney to the Johannesburg bar and the Transvaal division of the Supreme Court. In 1933 he was invited to study at Yale University in the United States, and the following year he completed an MA there. Afterwards he spent a year at the London School of Economics to study anthropology. He returned to South Africa in 1935, and in 1936 he was appointed lecturer at Fort Hare in Social Anthropology and Native Law and Administration. In 1944 Matthews became head of Fort Hare’s department of African Studies, and he was also promoted to professor. On the political front, Matthews became ANC provincial president for the Cape in June 1949. He proposed the basic idea of the Congress of the People in his presidential address to the Cape annual conference in August 1953. In December 1956, when he was the acting principal of Fort Hare, he became one of the accused in the Treason Trial. On his release from the trial in late 1958, he returned to Fort Hare. In 1962 Matthews moved to Geneva to become secretary of the Africa division of the World Council of Churches. In 1966 he accepted the post of ambassador to the United States and chief United Nations representative for Botswana. He died in the United States in 1968. Bridging the gap between the old guard and the more militant younger members of the African National Congress in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, Matthews exercised a major guiding and moderating influence on African political history in its most crucial period. He was at the same time South Africa’s, and perhaps the continent’s, most distinguished African intellectual. (Extracted from): From Protest to Challenge: A documentary history of African politics in South Africa 1882 – 1964, edited by Thomas Karis and Gwendolen M Carter, 1977.This collection consists of handwritten manuscripts, letters, pamphlets, photos, typed reports and lectures, with bound and loose leaf pages. 1453 items.

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  • Unknown author (2013-10-03)
    The constitution of the African National Congress, dated 1942.
  • Matthews, Zacharia Keodirelang (2013-10-03)
    Part of the genealogical studies on the House of Tawana of the Barolong.
  • Bokako, Edison M. (2013-10-03)
    An anthology of twenty-two Setswana poems, with translations, compiled by Edison M. Bokako. With notes on Setswana poetry.
  • Matthews, Zacharia Keodirelang (2013-10-01)
    Prof. Matthews writes to Mr. Kerr regarding a proposal to study under Malinowski in London and the possibility of financial assistance. Dated January 20, 1934.
  • Unknown author (2013-02-19)
    Bible study material about Jesus Christ as the light of the world, with various study sections and bible readings.
  • Unknown author (2013-02-01)
    Certificate of enrolment and admission, certifying that Prof. Z. K. Matthews has been registered as an attorney practicing in the Court of Appeal within the Bechuanaland Protectorate. Dated 25 May 1961.
  • Mbeki, Govan A. (2013-02-01)
    Govan A. Mbeki writes to Mr. Mbanjana Mesatywa with a copy of a letter he wrote to the Secretary of the Fort Hare Union, and asks Mr. Mesatywa to urge the Secretary to reply and respond to the requests in the letter. Dated ...
  • Unknown author (2013-02-01)
    Prof. Matthews writes to Louisa Hooper with news on the banning of Chief Luthuli, the African women in Natal, the proposed government take-over of Fort Hare and the Treason Trial. Dated 26 October 1959.
  • Unknown author (2013-02-01)
    The registrar of Rhodes University writes to Prof. Z. K. Matthews regarding the conferment of his honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony for Fort Hare. Dated 21 January 1961.
  • Unknown author (2013-02-01)
    Letter of recommendation to Rev. Dr. A. W. Blaxall regarding a scholarship for Rev. S. S. Seane toward further studied overseas. Dated 22 January 1959.
  • Cohn, Gerhard (2013-02-01)
    Gerard Cohn writes to Prof. Matthews, requesting him to sign a statement made to be handed to the press in which racialism and the present policy of the Nationalist Government is rejected and criticised.
  • Mzamane, G. I. M. (2013-02-01)
    G. I. M. Mzamane writes to Prof. Matthews regarding a manuscript by Mr. Mbebe, providing comments on the work. Dated 23 October 1948.
  • Unknown author (1959-10-29)
    Newspaper article published in the Natal Daily News about the effects of the government take-over of Fort Hare University College and Nationalism's intolerance of racial harmony and academic freedom. Dated 29 October 1959.
  • Unknown author (1959-10-29)
    Newspaper article published in the Natal Mercury regarding Dr. Alexander Kerr's address at Fort Hare in which he urges staff to stay on in the interest of the students. Dated 29 October 1959.
  • Unknown author (1959-10-29)
    Newspaper article published in the Natal Mercury about Prof. Z. K. Matthews' pending decision on resigning from Fort Hare University College. Dated 29 October 1959.
  • may, Rollo (1961-04-24)
    Newspaper article about Dr. Alexander Kerr's receiving of the honorary doctorate. Dated 24 April 1961.
  • Unknown author (1959-11-25)
    Newspaper article published in the Natal Daily News about a special fellowship fund being created in aid of scholars recently dismissed or having been compelled to resign from the University College of Fort Hare. Dated 25 ...
  • Unknown author (1959-11-07)
    Newspaper article published in the Natal Daily News about the farewell function held in honour of the resigning staff members of the University College of Fort Hare. Dated 7 November 1959.
  • Unknown author (1959-11-11)
    Newspaper article published in Ilanga Lase Natal about Prof. Z. K. Matthews' resignation from Fort Hare University College. Dated 7 November 1959.
  • Unknown author (1959-11-07)
    Photograph and caption published in The World regarding Prof. Z. K. Matthews' decision to resign from Fort Hare University College. Dated 7 November 1959.

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