The first African rector of the University of Glasgow
Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli
Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli (c1898-1967) born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, was Rector of the University of Glasgow from 1962 until 1965.
Originally a schoolteacher, Luthuli became Chief of the Umvoti mission reserve at Groutville in Natal, South Africa, and subsequently President-General of the African National Congress from 1952 until 1960, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his non-violent campaign against apartheid in South Africa. In 1968 he was posthumously awarded the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
Banned from travelling to Scotland, Luthuli was not present during the rectorial election nor during his rectorship. Despite his physical absence in Scotland, his rectorial campaign was supported by the Liberal and the Labour Clubs, and among the students who campaigned on his behalf was the future First Minister Donald Dewar. Luthuli defeated Robert McIntyre, President of the Scottish Nationalist Party; the Earl of Rosebery, and Conservative MP and future Prime Minister Edward Heath in the election. 61 per cent of the students voted in the election, the highest turnout for many years. The University’s Luthuli scholarship, which enables a Black African to study at Glasgow, is named in his honour.
For more historical connections with Africa and other countries, visit the University of Glasgow’s International Story project: