Sydney Sekwati Choma was born in Middelburg, Eastern Province (now Mpumalanga Province) on the 6 June 1956. He started his primary school education at Monyano L.P School and completed it at Ulusindisweni H.P School. He then went on to attend Sozama Secondary School education and completed his matriculation (Grade 12) at Inkomazi High School.
He received military training in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1976 and was sent to South Africa to do underground work in 1977. Sydney was arrested, detained and tortured in February 1977 in Sekhukhuneland in Lebowa, and in Groblersdal, Transvaal.
In November 1979, he was found guilty of high treason in Pietermaritzburg and was sentenced to 16 years on Robben Island, but served only 10 years of his sentence. Choma was released in 1990 and served as a councillor on the Middelburg Town Council, in Mpumalanga.