Dulcie Evonne September (20 August 1935 – 29 March 1988) was a teacher and a South African anti-apartheid political activist, who was assassinated in Paris in 1988 for investigating the Apartheid government’s connection to the French government, which included the trafficking of weapons.
In light of Women’s Month in South Africa, let us remember the vigour of Dulcie and her legacy that will live forever.
Dulcie September’s political career
Back in 1960, Dulcie joined the African Peoples Democratic Union of Southern Africa (APDUSA). Thereafter, she joined the Yu Chi Chan Club, a small anti-apartheid militant group, which was disbanded in 1962 and later replaced by the National Liberation Front (NLF).
In 1963, while a member of the NLF, she was arrested and detained at the Roeland Street Prison, without a trial. Dulcie was charged under the Criminal Procedure Act. The main charge was “conspiracy to commit acts of sabotage, and incite acts of politically motivated violence”.
After months in court, Dulcie was eventually sentenced to five years in jail. The conditions of her release from prison included a five-year banning order, which meant that she was prohibited from engaging in any political activity and even from continuing work in the field of education.
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In 1973, nearing the end of her ban order, she then applied for a permanent departure permit, after securing a position at Madeley College of Education in England.
In December 1973, she left South Africa but continued her political endeavours with the British Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM). Eventually, she gave up her vocation as a teacher and joined the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa.
In 1976, she joined the ANC and in 1979, she was elected chairperson of the IYC (International Year of the Child) Committee of the ANC. Dulcie climbed the political ladder relatively quickly and by 1983 she was appointed ANC Chief Representative in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Dulcie September’s assassination
Due to her freedom-fighting efforts and consistent involvement in politics, Dulcie was on many a hitlist.
However, on 29 March 1988, she became the victim of a heinous assassination when she was brutally shot five times outside the ANC office in Paris.
According to the Truth Commission Files: The Case Of “Dulcie September”, Dulcie reported that she was being followed and threatened and she had asked the ministry for protection, which the French deny.
Prior to her tragic death, Dulce had been investigating the trafficking of weapons between France and South Africa, which included nuclear equipment.
She was highly respected in Paris and more than 20 000 people showed up to her memorial.
Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Bring Her Up: Women of First Awards
Dulcie September has been nominated for the Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Bring Her Up: Women of First Awards. On 28 August 2023, Dulcie’s niece, Nicola Arendse will accept the award on behalf of the family.
Today, 20 August 2023, Dulcie would have turned 88.
Feature image: Murder in Paris / Facebook