John Marinus Ferus (Hennie Ferus), an uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) soldier, was born on 8 February 1940. He joined the South African Coloured Peoples Congress (SACPO) at the age of 19. In 1962 he was detained under the 90 day detention law, which was renewed three times. In 1964 he was charged with sabotage. He was acquitted but banned and house arrested on his release.

 In 1966 he was imprisoned for four months for breaking his banning order. In 1967 he was charged for the same offence and sentenced to Robben Island until 1971. He was again banned and house arrested after his release.

Ferus married Petronella Petersen soon after the expiry of his banning order in 1976. In 1980 he was detained for more than five months together with local student leaders, Muavia Gallie, Owen Geldenhuys (deceased), Randolph Erasmus (deceased) and Johannes Flemmit at Victor Verster Prison.

He was a key underground operative during the student uprising locally, providing leadership and securing finances. In 1980 he was detained again for three months and assaulted by police. He was immediately banned and house arrested again after his release. This banning order was lifted unexpectedly in December 1980.

John Marinus Ferus died in a car accident in 1981. At his funeral the African National Congress (ANC) flag was openly raised for the first time since the organisation was banned in 1960.


SABC TRC. (1996). Human Rights Violation Hearings . Available at Accessed on 18 June 2019.

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