Kentridge, Morris

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KENTRIDGE, MORRIS (1881–1964), South African lawyer and politician. Born in Lithuania, he was the son of W. Kantrovich, minister of the Vryheid Hebrew Congregation. He joined the South African Labour Party, was elected to Parliament, and from 1920 until his retirement in 1958 represented a Johannesburg division. Kentridge boldly championed the workers' cause in the strikes of 1922 and spent some time under detention in consequence. He remained a leading representative of the Labour Party until it lost its influence after the pact with the Nationalists. In 1932 he joined Smuts' United Party and while on the government front bench helped to frame a considerable volume of progressive industrial legislation. One of the leading Jewish spokesmen in Parliament, he opposed Hertzog's anti-Jewish immigration laws of the 1930s. During the Hitler period he fought the activities of the South African pro-Nazi agitators. His memoirs, I Recall, were published in 1959.

[Lewis Sowden]