Saturday 10 December, 2005

On the BBC News website today, there was a link to an "On This Day"article about Albert Luthuli receiving his Nobel Peace Prize on this day in 1961. I was aware he was an African National Congress activist, but I didn't know until today that he was the leader of it at the time.The only reason I've heard of him is that the students' association building at Aberdeen University is named after him, part of the craze in the British student movement in the 1980s of showing solidarity with the anti-apartheid struggle. In one of the meeting rooms hung a large, imposing black and white picture of the rather austere-looking Luthuli himself.

During my involvement in AUSA, we gave out stickers at polling booths which said "I've voted, have you?" thus letting leafletters know not to hassle those students. We printed several thousand of them, and I recall we only narrowly approved that text over "F*ck off, I've voted". I remember one year putting one of the "I've voted, have you?" stickers on the Luthuli portrait, just on the lapel of his jacket. For years after, anyone going into the meeting room would see the stern inquisition from old uncle Albert about whether they had voted or not.

Quite wittily ironic of me really, given that the poor bloke probably never voted once in his whole life.

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