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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Mbeki, Govan

1910 - 2001

Govan Mbeki was a journalist, a Transkeian leader, and a significant figure in the African National Congress and the underground Communist Party in the 1950s and 1960s. He was also involved in Umkhonto we Sizwe. He joined the ANC in the mid 1940s. He obtained degrees from Fort Hare (1937 - BA diploma in teaching), UNISA (1940 - B.Econ in Social Studies), and studying from prison in 1970 he was awarded a BA honours degree in economics.

In July 1963 he was arrested in the Rivonia raid and was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.

On June 26th, 1980 the Secretary General of the African National Congress, Alfred Nzo, announced the conferring of the time-honoured title of Isithwalandwe on Govan Mbeki. After being released from prison in 1987, Mbeki immediately continued with the work of the African National Congress. Following the 1994 elections he became Deputy President of the Senate.

He is the father of the current President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.

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.