BIRTH NAME: Charles Nqakula
DATE OF BIRTH: 13 September 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH: Eastern Cape
WIFE: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
CHILDREN: Chumani Nqakula
Charles Nqakula is a South African politician who served as Minister of Defence from September 2008 to 2009. He also served as Minister for Safety and Security from May 2002 to September 2008.
Early Life, Background And Childhood
Charles Nqakula was born on the 13 September 1942 in Eastern Cape. Charles Nqakula attended primary school at Cradock and secondary school at Lovedale, matriculating in 1963. He worked as a hotel waiter and wine steward, after which he became a clerk in the Department of Bantu Education.
Charles Nqakula is married to current South African Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula MP and they have one children named Chumani Nqakula.
Mapisa-Nqakula obtained a teacher’s diploma from the Bensonvale Teachers College.
In 1966, Charles Nqakula started as a journalist with the Midland News, a regional weekly newspaper in Cradock. Seven years later, he became a political reporter with Imvo Zabantsundu in King William’s Town. From 1976 he worked for the Daily Dispatch in East London until he was placed under an apartheid banning order in 1981.
In 1976 he was elected as vice-president of the Union of Black Journalists and in 1979 as vice-president of the Writers’ Association of South Africa (WASA). He started the Veritas News Agency in Zwelitsha towards the end of 1982.
Charles Nqakula was placed under a banning order for political activism in 1981, having been detained regularly by either the Ciskeian or South African authorities. He was elected as publicity secretary of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983 and by this time was working underground for the ANC. He was arrested in the same year, and decided to leave South Africa to undergo military training in Angola, where he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe. He also received military training in the USSR and East Germany. He served as MK commander for the Western Cape from 1998, and emerged from the underground upon receiving amnesty in 1991.
He progressed through the ranks of the South African Communist Party (SACP) until he was elected as deputy general secretary in 1991 and subsequently as the party’s general secretary in 1993. In 1999 he became the chairperson of the SACP. In 1994 he was elected as a member of Parliament and acted as the parliamentary counsellor to the president until 2001, when he took over the position of deputy minister of home affairs. In 2002 he became minister of safety and security, and in 2008 he was moved to the posision of minister of defence, which he held until 2009.
Upon the demise of the apartheid government and the election of President Nelson Mandela in 1994, Nqakula was elected to the National Executive Committee of the ANC. He later served as Parliamentary Counsellor to the President. On 24 January 2001 Charles Nqakula was appointed as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, becoming Minister of Safety and Security on 7 May 2002.
After President Thabo Mbeki was forced to resign in September 2008, Nqakula was moved to the post of Minister of Defense in the cabinet of Mbeki’s successor, Kgalema Motlanthe, on 25 September 2008.
On 24 June 2012, South African President Jacob Zuma appointed Nqakula as High Commissioner to the Republic of Mozambique.
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