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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Seremane, Wetsho-Otsile Joseph (Joe)

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Joe Seremane was born on 26 August 1938 in Randfontein. He was schooled at Madibane High School and earned a teacher's diploma at Wilberforce Training College in Evaton.

He has been an advocate of Human Rights and Democracy for as long as he can remember. His first role was that of school teacher in Bekkersdal, until he was barred from that profession for political involvement. He was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1963 to 1969, and was then banished to the homeland of Bophuthatswana. He was further detained without trial from 1976-1978, and several times between 1982 and 1984.

He has served civic organisations in advocacy and later, mediation and conflict resolution. He was the Director of Justice and Reconciliation for the SA Council of Churches (SACC), and he has served as a Chief Land Claims Commissioner. He was adult training co-ordinator of the Ubuntu Social Development Institute based at the Wilgespruit Fellowship Centre and later joined the South African Communication Service as assistant director and co-ordinator.

He appeared before the TRC in 1997 demanding that the ANC and MK reveal the whereabouts of the body of his brother who was killed in the MK Quatro camp in Angola. Seremane himself assisted cadres to leave South Africa, many for military training, during the apartheid era.

Recognising the need for a strong opposition party to consolidate democracy in South Africa, he joined the Democratic Party (DP) in 1994. He was elected to the National Council of Provinces in 1998, and to the National Assembly in 1999. He was elected Federal Chairperson of the DP in March 2000, thus becoming the founding chairperson of the Democratic Alliance on its formation.

Sources: www.da.org.za

Eds: Phillip van Niekerk & Barbara Ludman: A Z of South African Politics 1999: The Essential Handbook. Penguin Books: Sandton.

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