Jaydew Nasib Singh was born in South Africa about 1920 and graduated in the mid-1940s with a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was a contemporary and friend of Nelson Mandela, Ruth First, I. C. Meer, and other student radicals. He joined the Communist Party while a university student. He became a member of itsJohannesburg district committee; later, he left the party. At the time of the Indian protests of 1946, he served as secretary of the Transvaal Passive Resistance Council. Moving to Durban about 1947, he was elected to the executive committee of both the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) and the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) and played a leading part in organising Indian-African co-operation following the 1949 Durban riots and again during the 1952 Defiance Campaign. Highly successful in his law practice, popular with Africans as well as Indians, and noted for his matinee-idol good looks, Singh might have had an important public political career, but government banning orders in the mid-1950s barred him from all political activity, and he was obliged thereafter to offer what support he could to the congress movement from behind the scenes.