Barbara Hogan was born on 28 February 1952 and grew up in Benoni. After completing her primary school education, Hogan enrolled and completed her matric at St Dominics Convent School. She then registered at the University of Witwatersrand where she obtained a degree in Development Studies. While at Wits, Hogan joined a group of students who actively opposed policies of the Apartheid government and became involved in their campaigns. After completing her studies, Hogan worked as a researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations.
Hogan joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1977 after the Soweto Uprising and became involved in its underground work. She played a crucial role in organising and mobilizing leftwing white people who were opposed to apartheid, and also in collecting information of trade union movement and community organisations. She relayed this information to ANC contacts in Botswana thus keeping the movement in exile abreast with ground work developments in the country. Her activities in the ANC attracted the attention of the apartheid government spy network who worked stop her political activities. She survived an assassination attempt when government agents wrongly placed a bomb intended for her under another woman’s car.
Hogan was arrested in 1981 and detained in solitary confinement for a year. While in detention she was assaulted and tortured by security officers during interrogation. The officers were later charged with assault. She was charged with treason and other alternative charges under the Terrorism Act and the Internal Security Act.During the trial, she admitted that she was a member of the ANC, but rejected the charge of treason. Despite the state’s lack of evidence that she was involved in any violent activity which sought to overthrow the government, she was found guilty of treason and sentenced to 10 years in prison on 21 October 1982.This made her the first white woman to be charged and convicted of treason.
She was sent to serve her sentence at the Pretoria Central Prison. While in prison, Hogan assisted by human right lawyers and international humanitarian organizations fought against the rules of incarceration.Subsequently, she was allowed some books, food parcels and a few visits. Hogan then enrolled for further studies and obtained qualifications in Accounting and Economics while serving her sentence.
As Apartheid began to crumble and negotiations for the transition gathered momentum, Hogan was released in 1990 alongside other political prisoners. After her release, Hogan resumed her political activities - she served as a member of ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) from 1990 to 1992. She also became involved in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) talks that ushered in a democratic South Africa. Hogan became one of the leading figures in organizing the ANC in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV) areas. This was a challenging period because of the political violence that overshadowed the area. She was subsequently elected as the regional secretary of the ANC in the PWV region.
In 1993 she became head of Policy Development at the Development Bank of South Africa. After the first democratic elections Hogan served in various capacities in the ANC led government. She served as chairperson of the portfolio committee on Finance between 1999 and 2004, and she also became chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Account (SCOPA) and the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General. Hogan also became a Member of Parliament for the ANC. She was appointed as Minister of Health on 26 September 2008 and served in the portfolio until 10 May 2009. After that she was appointed as Minster of Public Enterprises in May 2009 and served in the portfolio until she resigned in November 2010. Outside government Hogan served as a council member of the Robben Island Museum and was a memberof the Amandla AIDS Fund established in 2003.
Hogan is married to Ahmed Kathrada, a member of the ANC who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial and served 18 years on Robben Island.
South African Government Information, (2010), Barbara Hogan, Ms, from the South African Government Information, [online] Available at www.info.gov.za [Accessed 02 August 2012]|Treatment Action Campaign, (2010), ‘A tribute to Comrade Barbara Hogan’, from the Treatment Action Campaign, 24 November, [online] Available atwww.tac.org.za [Accessed 02 August 2012]|University of Kentucky, Barbara Hogan, Recommended for Honorary Doctor of Letters, April 13, 2011 Academic Convocation, from the University of Kentucky, 24 November, [online] Available at www.uky.edu/ [Accessed 02 August 2012]