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Ahmed Sukarno (1901 - 1970)

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Ahmed Sukarno (1901 - 1970) Awarded for:
His exceptional contribution and the founding of the non-aligned movement.
Profile of Ahmed Sukaro (1901-1970)

Ahmed Sukaro was born in 1901 in Surabaya and educated at his father’s school in (East Java). As a secondary student, he was accommodated in the house of Umar Said Cokroaminoto, chairperson of the mass organisation Sarekat Islam, where Sukarno met many of the nationalist leaders of the time.

In Bandung, he became involved in the anti-colonial struggle. He was Chairperson of the local branch of Jong Java and one of the founders of the General Study Club in 1926. He called for the unity of all nationalists to achieve the common goal of independence.

In 1927, he assisted in the formation of the Indonesian independence movement party, Partai Nasional Indonesia (PNI) and became its first chairperson. The PNI became the main voice of Indonesia secular nationalism, and Sukarno’s oratory skill drew large crowds to its meeting. Its success led, in December 1929, to Sukarno’s arrest, trial and conviction for behaviour calculated to disturbs public order.

His defence speech became a classic example of national liberation literature. After his release from prison in December 1931, Sukarno joined Partindo (the PNI’s successor) and was arrested again in 1933. In spite of his resignation from Partindo and his promise to the authorities to abstain from political activity, he was exiled first to flores and then to Bengkulu.

When the Japanese assumed power in 1942, Sukarno returned to Jakarta where, with the occupation regime, he served as Chairperson of its mass organisations and of a Central Advisory Committee. In those positions, he was able to soften some Japanese demands, and through access to the radio provided in all villages, he became the most widely known Indonesian leader. In June 1945, he expounded his ‘Panca Sila’: nationalism, internationalism, democracy, social prosperity and belief in God.

After the transfer of sovereignty, the provisional constitution of 1950 provided for a parliamentary system and encouraged the emergence of a large number of political parties.

Sukarno played a leading role in initiating the historic Asia-Africa Conference at Bundung in 1955. The purpose of the meeting was to promote closer and amiable co-operation in the economic, cultural and political fields, after which the Non-Aligned Movement spread to Latin America.

He gave South African liberation movements a great deal of political and material assistance.

Sukarno was one of the charismatic leaders of Afro-Asian nationalism and its regarded as the founder of the Indonesian Republic.