Josiah Tshangana Gumede was born on 9 October 1867 in Healdtown village, Fort Beaufort in the present-day Eastern Cape and died on 6 November 1946.
His ancestry can be traced back to chief Khondlo, an Ngwane chief who was forced to flee Zululand. In all probability, he began his elementary schooling at the famous Healdtown Wesleyan Mission School. After completing his elementary schooling, he went on to attend the Native Institute at Grahamstown either in 1882/83 where he trained to become a teacher. He started his teaching career in Somerset East in the Eastern Cape.
He was the proprietor of the Abantu Batho newspaper, was educated at the Native College, Grahamstown, Cape Province. Was teacher at Somerset East for a number of years and later went to Natal, where he continued as a teacher for some time. Resigned the teaching profession and became adviser to some of the Natal and Orange Free State chiefs. Being a very good singer and pianist, he was elected a member of the Zulu choir which toured Europe. On his return he became a land agent and was attached to the firm of Allison and Hime, solicitors, Pietermaritzburg, Natal. He also owned his own land.
Josiah was appointed General Secretary of the Natal African Congress and was a foundation member of the African National Congress. He was appointed member of the 1919 African National Congress deputation to England to protest against the Land Act, 1913, of the Union of South Africa, Colour Bar, etc. Became President of the Natal African Congress. In 1926 was appointed President General of the African National Congress and was appointed as a delegate to the first international conference against imperialism in Brussels. Attended the second conference held in France. Visited Russia, France, Germany, Holland, England and other countries in Europe.
He was appointed President of the League of African Rights and was also director of the African and Indian Trading Association, Limited, established in Johannesburg in 1926. Mr. Gumede rendered invaluable service to the Barulukoe section of the Basutos who lost their land in the Orange Free State before the Anglo-Boer War. He led a deputation of the tribe to England, and there, together with Dr. Garnett, was able to get compensation from the Imperial Government. He Eventually became the proprietor and editor of Abantu Batho, Johannesburg. Gumede was ousted from the ANC in 1930.
Source: The African Yearly Register by Skota