South African anti-apartheid activist Ronnie Kasrils is born in the Johannesburg


Ronnie Kasrils

Tuesday, 15 November 1938

South African anti-apartheid activist Ronnie Kasrils was born in the Johannesburg suburb of Yeoville. The Sharpeville massacre and its aftermath drew him closer to the African National Congress (ANC). He was renowned for perfectly executing tasks entrusted to him by the leadership of the party. He was a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He personally executed acts of sabotage.

Kasrils was constantly on the run from government law enforcement agencies. In 1963, he skipped the country to Dar es Salaam. He has travelled to several foreign countries on ANC missions. After the country's first democratic elections in 1994, he was appointed as a minister of Defence in President Nelson Mandela's Cabinet. He later became minister of Water Affairs and Forestry under President Thabo Mbeki. He served his second term in Mbeki's cabinet as minister of Intelligence.


• Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
• SAHO Umkhonto we Sizwe [online] Available at: [Accessed on 14 November 2013]

Last updated : 14-Nov-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011