Meet Tokyo Sexwale, the activist, husband, politician and businessman

Meet Tokyo Sexwale, the activist, husband, politician and businessman

Tokyo Sexwale is almost a household name in South Africa. He is well known as a struggle stalwart, politician, and successful businessman.

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Born as Mosima Gabriel Sexwale on 5 March, 1953 in Soweto, he emerged as an important figure in the African National Congress (ANC) during the anti-apartheid struggle.

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Tokyo joined the ANC's military wing, uMkonto we Sizwe, in 1970 and received military training in the Soviet Union. He got the nickname "Tokyo" from his expertise in karate, learned.

He was arrested upon his return to South Africa on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.

He was sentenced in 1977 and served 13 years at Robben Island alongside other heroes such as Nelson Mandela. He was released in 1990.

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When South Africa attained freedom in 1994, Tokyo became the Premier of Gauteng province.

Drawing on the BCom degree he obtained while in prison, he left politics and ventured into business in 1998. He established Mvelaphanda Group, which focused on mining and energy.

His decision paid off in a big way, as he went on to build a fortune of around R2billion by 2009, according to Business Insider.

He returned to politics in 2009 when former President Jacob Zuma appointed him Minister of Human Settlement. However, Zuma fired him in 2013 and he returned to business.

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Tokyo was among candidates for the position of ANC Deputy President at its 2012 conference in Mangaung. However, he lost to Cyril Ramaphosa.

He also attempted running for the FIFA presidency in 2016, but ultimately withdrew his bid.

Regarding his personal life, not much is known about his first wife, with whom he had two children. He got married to the lawyer who represented him in prison, Judy van Vuuren, in 1990.

The two also had two children before they filed for divorced in 2013. In 2016, it was reported that Tokyo and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Nataxa da Silva, had welcomed a baby boy. He was 62 years old at the time.

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