Joseph Nkatlo was vice-chairman of the Liberal Party in the Cape, he was a delegate to the December 1960 consultative conference of African leaders in Johannesburg. A clerk by occupation, he was briefly a member of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) before 1950 and was known in Cape Town as an active organiser and public speaker. He was placed under ban in 1954 and again in 1961, and around 1963 he left South Africa to live in Basutoland (now Lesotho).

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