Professor Z. K. Matthews was one of the continent's most distinguished intellectuals. He bridged the gap between the African National Congress (ANC) old guard and the younger more militant members of the ANC youth league. In June 1949 he became president of the Cape Province branch of the ANC and lent his active support to the writing of the ANC's 1949 Programme of Action. On the eve of the Defiance Campaign he left South Africa to become a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as the ANC's representative and was in close contact with George M. Houser and others. He returned to South Africa in May 1953. He proposed the basic idea of the Congress of the People in his presidential address to the Cape annual conference in August 1953. He was arrested in December 1956 and became one of the accused in the Treason Trial. The case against him was withdrawn in 1957. This interview was conducted in September 1954 by George Houser, a founder of the American Committee on Africa. It was the only time Houser was able to get into South Africa until 1991. Biographical material source: From Protest to Challenge, Volume 4 by Gail M. Gerhart and Thomas Karis.
By permission of George M. Houser and the Matthews family.
Collection: Private collection of George M. Houser