The Luthuli Detachment

About This Project

In early August, the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation was honoured to host and interview The Luthuli Detachment. The gentlemen Mr Theophilus Tlou Cholo, Mr Isaac Makapo, Mr Joseph Mangwane, Mr Teddington N’Capayi and Mr Themba Linus Dlamini.

These gentlemen spoke of their fondest memories of their leader on what inspiration, leadership and lessons learnt from O.R and what they would have wanted to tell Oliver Tambo had he been alive today. Below is a brief history of the Luthuli Detachment and video of the interview.

The Luthuli Detachment.

This ANC unit was named the Luthuli Detachment, after the late Chief Albert Luthuli who had died in the same month of July 1967.

On 31 July 1967, the ANC for the first time launched an operation with the possibility of militarily engaging the apartheid regime in South Africa. A group of 79 guerrillas from the ANC and the Zimbabwean African People’s Union (Zapu) embarked on a joint mission.


This joint military venture between the ANC and the Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army (Zipra) became popularly known as the Wankie Campaign. Lennox Lagu was the commander of the ANC group of 56 men, while Chris Hani was the second-in-command.


The guerrillas crossed the Zambezi River from Zambia into then Southern Rhodesia on the 31st of July 1967, and embarked on a long march home through the Wankie Game Reserve.


The ANC guerrillas were aiming to march through Rhodesia into South Africa, where each combatant had specific instructions to assist in the political mobilisation of people in different parts of the country. The Zapu guerillas aimed to establish a military base in Lupane, in north-east Rhodesia, which would also serve as a future “Ho Chi Minh” route home for the ANC.


The Luthuli Detachment was a metaphor for freedom earned through the sweat of the oppressed’s brow, and it represented the possibility of victory against the system until then thought to be impregnable.


This bold and brave military detachment etched its name in the annals of the history of freedom in South Africa.


Here is a video of the Luthuli Detachment speaking about OR Tambo



WP Real Media Library is not installed/inactive!



22 June 2017


Tambo Foundation, Dunkeld

2017, Projects