In Memory of Joe Slovo


Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of South African politician, Joe Slovo. Born in Obeliai, Lithuania in 1926, Slovo’s family moved to South Africa when he was nine years old, settling in Johannesburg.

After completing his education and graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Slovo joined the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1942 before marrying fellow anti-Apartheid activist, and daughter of the founders of the preceding Communist Party of South Africa, Ruth First, in 1949.

Aside from going on to serve as General Secretary and National Chairperson of the SACP, Slovo also helped with the drafting of the Freedom Charter and is claimed to have convinced former President Nelson Mandela to put military activities on hold and focus on negotiations for a democratic South Africa.

Despite being elected to cabinet after the 1994 elections, Slovo died the following year of bone-marrow cancer at the age of 68.


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