T.O.S.A.S 5, Charles Nqakula


My fifth “Top Operatives of South African Socialism” profile focuses on South African Safety and Security Minister and South African Communist Party General Secretary, Charles Nqakula.

Born in 1942, Nqakula first worked as a wine steward and later became a clerk in the Department of Bantu Education

In 1966 he became a journalist, eventually becoming a political reporter for Imvo Zabantsundu, based in King Williams Town, in the early ’70s.

Nqakula then worked in East London, for the Daily Dispatch until he was “banned” by the government in 1981.

Nqakula actually lived in Ciskei, an “independent” territory, so the government was forced to lift the “banning” order, but then prevented him from re-entering South Africa.

Nqakula had been elected vice-president of the Union of Black Journalists in 1976, but the organisation was banned the following year. The government alleged it was aligned to the Maoist leaning, Black Conciousness Movement of Azania.

Nqakula was elected vice-president of the Writers Association of South Africa in 1979 and maintained the position when the organisation broadened to become the Media Workers Association of South Africa.

In 1983, he was elected publicity secretary of the United Democratic Front.

Nqakula was regularly detained by South African and Ciskeian authorities, so in 1984 he skipped the country.

Nqakula travelled to Lesotho, Tanzania and Zambia, then underwent military training, with the ANC’s armed wing, “Umkhonto We Sizwe” in Angola. Later he travelled to the Soviet Union and East Germany for further military training.

In 1988, Nqakula infiltrated back into South Africa as a commander of “Operation Vula“. He was charged with building up underground military structures in the Western Cape region.

After the ANC and SACP were legalised in 1990, Nqakula served on the interim leadership group of the SACP, as convenor of its national organising committee, on its political committee and as a member of the party’s secretariat.

He became General Secretary of the SACP in 1991 after the assassination of Chris Hani.

In 1994, Nqakula was elected to the National Executive Committee of the ANC and was re-elected to the leadership of the SACP in 1995.

He served as Parliamentary Counsellor to President Mbeki until 2001 and was Deputy Minister or Home Affairs until gaining his present position

In his spare time Nqakula composes choral music and writes poetry.

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10 thoughts on “T.O.S.A.S 5, Charles Nqakula

  1. I was hoping you might have something to say about the people Karimov was meeting in the photos – you know, how you say you “support” certain countries and all that, Trev. No one has any moral high ground.

  2. Who is Karimov anon.

    Yes supporting countries, like supporting parties or individuals is a risky business.

    Supporting priciples is the soundest way to go.

    That said, some countries are, in my opinion morally superior to other.

  3. Sorry anon, I just clicked. I thought you were referring to Karimov in a South African context rather than the Uzbekistan link

  4. Yes, I was referring the leaders of the country that you claim hold moral superiority meeting quite happily with a rascst, tin pot, third world dictator who tortures to death oppoents of his regime. Any moral superiority you might and try to ascribe to any particular country just flew out the window.

  5. If South Korea went around the world bombing countries and intefering in free and democratic elections then I would say no, but they don’t, so I have to say yes.

  6. The point being anon, that you do acknowledge that some countries are morally superior to others.

    I suspect your real arguement is my comparitively pro US views.

    I’ll put it this way. Though I disagree with about 80% of US foreign policy and about 60% of domestic policy, I still regard the US as one of the better nations on the planet.

  7. Some governments are morally superior to others, absolutely. The elected government of South Korea is morally superior to the Kim regime in the DPRK.

    I’m surprised to see that you disagree with 80% of American foreign policy yet you still consider yourself to be “pro-American”. You don’t have very high standards, do you.

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