Industrial and Commercial Workers' Union. (ICU)

Founded Date
The ICU, which was launched in Cape Town in 1919, was one of the first general trade unions to emerge in South Africa and built up a strong following among Africans, including those who worked on farms. It received some support among the farm workers in the Schweizer-Reyneke/Delareyville/Bloemhof regions of the North-West province.  The ICU appealed more to Africans who were living and working on white farms under poor conditions, or to those who were based in the towns. It also did not enjoy much support in the reserve areas of the Province. 
Jason Jingoes in his autobiography, A Chief is a Chief by the People, describes how he began to work for the ICU around 1927 or 1928. He was based in Bethlehem but increasingly began to organise in the western Transvaal. At that time Klerksdorp was the only established ICU branch’. New branches sprung up in Leeudoringstad, Bloemhof, Lichtenburg and Christiana; the largest, with 1 000 members,being at Makwassie. . Branches were also formed ‘in the heart’ of the Lichtenburg diamond fields among the African tenants and diggers in 1928.. The UCU went into virtual terminal decline in about 1929.

South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

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