About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Mkhuseli Jack

Mkhuseli Jack was raised on the farmlands of South Africa's Eastern Cape and knew nothing of anti-apartheid politics, the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, or the efforts for freedom launched by the African National Congress when he moved to the industrial city of Port Elizabeth in search of a high school education. He was radicalized by the apartheid laws that kept him from enrolling in a city school. With the support of local organizations, he gained admission and developed as a natural leader of his peers. He founded and headed the Port Elizabeth Youth Congress and became deeply involved in the emerging civic movement that led to his subsequent formation of the United Democratic Front. He became a key leader of strikes, boycotts, and other grassroots efforts, which, during the 1980s, reverberated throughout the country and were instrumental in creating the national and international climate that defeated apartheid. Jack's willingness to subject himself to repeated imprisonment and the rigors of extended hunger strikes earned him the loyalty of South African blacks and the respect of the white community, which eventually included him in key negotiations. In the early 1990s, Jack earned an honors degree in economics and development studies at Sussex University in Britain and is now a successful businessman in Port Elizabeth.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.