Political Activists

The first white political prisoners in Pietermaritzburg were Dereck Marsh, Peter Brown and Hans Meidner.  They were office bearers of the Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA), and they were detained during the State of Emergency on 30 March 1960.  By declaring a State of Emergency, the National Party government's intention was to round up "trouble-makers", "agitators", and leaders of various organisations, such as the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan African Congress (PAC), the Congress of Democrats and the Liberal Party.  The LPSA had been active in opposing the Treason Trial and had addressed meetings in the company of the ANC and the Indian Congress. Dereck Marsh had even shared a platform with Nelson Mandela.


This was the aftermath of Sharpeville, where the police had fired on anti-pass demonstration, killing 56 people.  On 28 March 1960, the ANC declared a National Day of Mourning for the victims of Sharpeville, and the following night the detentions started. ('Political detention remembered' by Margery Moberly in Concord: Newsletter of the Alan Paton Centre v 2 no 1, 2002)

After this experience, Marsh left the country for Australia, on an exit permit.  Peter Brown stayed on, and was subsequently banned for a ten year period, from 1964 to 1974.  Many members of the LPSA were to be banned or exiled in the years that followed, as can be seen in their collections housed at the APC:

PC 14       John Aitchison: banned 1965-1975
PC 16    Peter Brown: banned 1964-1974
PC 55    Charles Kenneth Hill: banned 1966-1971
PC 58    Heather Morkill: banned 1966-1971
PC 59    Jack Unterhalter: includes letters about the exile of the Hain family and statements by Marius Schoon on his arrest by the Security Branch
PC 86    Randolph Vigne: banned 1963-1968. Into exile 1964.  
(See history of LPSA)
PC 88    Leslie Weinberg: accounts of the arrest of Peter Brown, Hans Meidner and Dereck Marsh
PC 89    Eddie Daniels: member of the African Resistance Movement (ARM), sent to Robben Island from 1964-1987 for acts of sabotage
PC 108   Eric Harber: 1964: exit permit to UK
PC 110   Tom Sharpe: deported for political activities 1964
PC 115   Victor Reuben Noel: banned 1964-1969; 1972-1977
PC 123   Jean Hill: banned 1965-1970
PC 125   David Craighill: banned 1965; went into exile 1966

Comment on new design here | View the Promotion of Access to Information Act | View our Privacy Policy
All information 2009 University of KwaZulu-Natal. All rights reserved.