Born at Buntingville, Umtata, in the Transkei, he completed B.S. and M.S. degrees, then studied medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he graduated in 1952. In 1950 he participated in the organisation of the June 26 protest, and in 1951 he was elected to head the Transvaal Youth League. In 1952 he was elected to the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee but soon thereafter left the Transvaal to serve his internship in the Cape. In 1953 he was one of the first African doctors appointed to Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg. Banned in 1954, he became politically inactive. He still practices medicine in South Africa.