Allan Hendrickse

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Allan Hendrickse
Born (1927-10-22)22 October 1927
Uitenhage
Died 16 March 2005(2005-03-16)
Port Elizabeth
Nationality South African
Other names Helenard Joe Hendrickse
Occupation Politician, minister, teacher
Known for Leadership of the Labour Party
Religion Congregationalist

Helenard Joe Hendrickse (22 October 1927 – 16 March 2005), popularly known as Allan Hendrickse, was a South African politician, Congregationalist minister, and teacher. He participated in an act of defiance by swimming at a South African beach reserved for whites only. He was born in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape and died of a heart attack at Port Elizabeth's airport. He studied at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape where he met Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Robert Mugabe. He married in 1957 and was to have four children.[1]

In 1969, he became one of the founders of the Labour Party, which represented Coloured people on the Coloured Peoples' Representative Council. He helped open "Coloured" schools to students of all races.[2] After 1984, the Labour Party dominated the House of Representatives, one of the houses in South Africa's Tricameral Parliament, and Hendrickse served in P. W. Botha's cabinet. Hendrickse and Labour drew the ire of the United Democratic Front and African National Congress for this collaboration with apartheid; Hendrickse defended himself on the grounds that he would oppose apartheid from within.[3][4] His swim at a whites-only beach took place in 1987; on Botha's demand, Hendrickse later apologized for the swim.[3]

Hendrickse lost control of the House of Representatives in 1992 after losing a confidence vote to Labour members who had crossed the floor to the National Party, led by Jac Rabie, and independents.[5] Hendrickse led the remains of the Labour Party into the ANC in 1994. He served as an ANC MP from that year until his retirement in 1999.

He was awarded the Order of the Baobab (Silver Class) in 2004.[2][6] A letter signed by President Thabo Mbeki and read at Hendrickse's funeral saluted him as a "freedom fighter and architect of democracy".[7]

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