Ebrahim Rasool was born on 15 July 1962 in District Six, Cape Town. At the age of nine in 1972 his family was forcibly moved out of District Six when the apartheid government declared it a “Whites – only” residential area. Despite his youth the event was significant in his life particularly since he was forced to change schools. The family moved to Primose Park near Mannenberg were they were resettled.
In 1980 Ebrahim Rasool matriculated at Livingstone High School in Claremont, Cape Town. He later enrolled at the University of Western Cape for a BA degree. It was during this period that his interest in politics grew and he became a leader of Islamic students. In 1984 after completing a Higher Diploma in Education with the University of Cape Town he took a teaching position at Spine Road High School. From 1991 to 1994 he was Assistant to the Rector of the University of the Western Cape.
After university Rasool joined the Western Cape branch of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and served as its Provincial Secretary for three years. In 1984 he served as National Secretary of the Call of Islam, which had strong ties with the UDF. He held this position until 1994. From 1994 to 1998 he was Provincial Treasurer for the ANC and Member of the Executive Council of Western Cape Legislature. He remains chairperson of the ANC in the Western Cape.
On 22 April 2004, President Thabo Mbeki appointed Rasool to his current position of Premier of the Western Cape Province.