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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Pillay, Ivan

1953 -

Born in Merebank, Durban, Pillay was influenced by the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s and was involved in the pro-Frelimo rallies in 1975. He was part of the team that organised for Mac Maharaj to leave South Africa in 1977.

He left the country in 1977 to go to Swaziland and underwent some training in Mozambique. He then joined MK and became a member of the Internal Political Reconstruction Committee. From 1980 to 1985 he was the commander of the MJK (Mandla Judson Kuzwayo) Unit. He was also a member of the Central Committee of the SACP.

A key operative in Operation Vula, taking charge of logistics, Pillay was head of the Vula establishment in Lusaka, and set up an infrastructure stretching from London to Lusaka. He played an important role in sending people and weapons into South Africa.

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.