James “Jobe” Hadebe

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Biographical information


Teacher and political activist. A member of the African National Congress (ANC) Hadebe served as Transvaal Provincial Secretary of the ANC during the 1950s. An accused in the Treason Trial, Hadebe left South Africa to serve as an ANC representative internationally during his exile.

First name: 
Last name: 
Date of birth: 
29 October 1923
Location of birth: 
Frankfort, Orange Free State (now Free State), South Africa

James “Jobe” John Hadebe was born on 29 October 1923 in Frankfort in the Orange Free State. The son of a clerk and descendant of the Hlubi chief, Langalibalele, he became a teacher and active member of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Transvaal.

During the ANC boycott of Bantu Education schools in the 1950s, he played a leading part in efforts to organise alternative "cultural clubs" for children. He also acted as Transvaal Provincial Secretary of the ANC, in the Transvaal, in the 1950s.

Arrested on 5 December 1956, he was listed as Defendant Number 64 in the 1956 Treason Trial, and released on bail of £50 on 21 December 1956. 

He later returned to the Drill Hall, where the trial was being conducted, on 10 January 1957. He had to sit through the legal proceedings for an entire year before charges were withdrawn against him.

Hadebe was detained for five months following the State of Emergency in 1960. After this, he left South Africa and went into exile to Bechuanaland (Botswana) enroute to Ghana. He served as a representative of the ANC in Cairo and East Africa, and was also the ANC’s Chief Representative in Dar es Salaam.

In the 4 December 1967 issue of The Standard, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania reported that Hadebe ‘had resigned from the external mission of the Congress for personal and political reasons”, but that he would retain his ordinary membership of the Congress.

He returned to South Africa from exile in around 1994.

• “Summary of the Events in connection with James Jobe Hadebe and his resignation from the external mission of the African National Congress of South Africa” (1968) [online] Available at: disa.ukzn.ac.za [Accessed 17 March 2009] 
•  Naidoo, P. (2006) 156 Hands that built South Africa. Published by the author. p. 72-73

Last updated : 04-Aug-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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