Sasha Neefe - IB Global Studies Block 3; Wehmeyer
Life and Accomplishments
Slovo was married to Ruth First, who died in 1986, and then to Helena Dolny. He had three children - Shawn, Gillian, and Robyn, with First. He wrote an unfinished autobiography that was edited by his second wife, called Slovo - the Unfinished Autobiography. This was published in 1995, just months after his death from bone marrow cancer on January 6th of the same year.
An extremely involved man, Slovo partook in several Anti-Apartheid groups and had important roles in nearly all of them. His political career sparked at a young age when he became a member of the Communist Party in 1942. Between 1946-1950, he was a member of the South African Army, and after his service became a founding member of the Congress of Democrats in 1953. He ran into some trouble in the 1950s and 60s when he was detained and arrested several times after the outlawing of the Communist Party. In addition, after working on the draft of the Freedom Charter and the African National Congress's Non-Racist Manifesto of 1955, he was one of the accused in the Treason Trial from 1956-1961. Chargers were dropped. Slovo also helped organize the ANC's guerrilla wing (MK) and served as its chief of staff in 1961. During his 27 years of exile between 1963 and 1990, Slovo still helped battle Apartheid by serving on the South African Communist Party as its chair (1984-1987), general secretary (1987-1991), and later its national chair (1991-his death). After returning from exile, he helped to negotiate the transition from white superiority to multiracial democracy in South Africa in 1994. He continued to be the first minister of housing in the post-Apartheid government under Nelson Mandela until his death.
In addition to his political accomplishments, Slovo wrote an autobiography as mentioned before, as well as helped write South Africa: The New Politics of Revolution (1976) and wrote The South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution (1986). He was also the editor of the political journal Umsebenzi and contributed to and edited the African Communist paper.
Significance to Anti-Apartheid Movement
- Saks, David. "Joe Slovo." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. Biography in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
- Leverich, Jean M. "Joe Slovo." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Biography in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
- "Joe Slovo." Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale, 1989. Biography in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
- "THE ARMED STRUGGLE SPREADS." The Armed Struggle Spreads. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.