On this day: Remembering Joe Slovo on the anniversary of his death

On this day: Remembering Joe Slovo on the anniversary of his death

On the anniversary of Joe Slovo's passing, Briefly.co.za takes a look at the life of the political icon.

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On January 6th, 1995 Joe Slovo (born Yossel Mashel Slovo) passed away after a lengthy battle with bone marrow cancer.

Slovo is famously remembered as the leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP), but he is credited as being one of the key figureheads on the road to reconciliation.

Slovo's ties with former president Nelson Mandela dates back to the 1940s as the pair attended the same class at Wits University.

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Slovo married Ruth First in 1949, but both of them were listed as communists in 1950 and banned from various activities under the Suppression of Communism Act.

As a result of his anti-apartheid activities, Slovo was arrested on more than one occasion.

From 1961, Slovo served as a commander for Umkhonto we Sizwe - the ANC's military wing.

However, he was soon living in exile from 1963 and lived in other Southern African countries and the United Kingdom.

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Slovo wrote a number of politically-inspired books, but is famously remembered for facilitating the transition to a democratic government.

Briefly.co.za understands that he played a key role in the compromise between the ANC and National Party.

Following the ANC's electoral victory in 1994, Slovo was named as Minister for housing.

Slovo was tasked with building one million homes within a five-year period as per Mandela's bold vision.

However, the veteran politician feared the move would bankrupt the newly-elected government and focused on improving utilities in townships instead.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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