The Presidential Years

Anti-apartheid activist and politician. Charged with Mandela and 155 others in the Treason Trial of 1956. All were acquitted. Became a freedom fighter in the 1960s and rose to the position of commander-in-chief of MK, the armed wing of the ANC, holding this position for twenty-five years from 1965 to 1990. After Mandela’s release from prison, Modise returned to South Africa and joined the ANC’s negotiating team in discussions with the ruling National Party. The initial discussion resulted in the Groote Schuur Minute, which paved the way for the return of all exiles and a negotiated end to the apartheid system. Minister of defence in Mandela’s cabinet, 1994–99.