Joe Slovo was a South African politician, and an opponent of the apartheid system.1Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid A Marxist-Leninist, he was a long-time leader and theorist in the South African Communist Party, a leading member of the African National Congress, and a commander of the ANC military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.
Slovo joined the South African Communist Party in 1942. Inspired by the Red Army Battle’s against the Nazis on the Eastern Front of World War II, Slovo volunteered to fight in the war. He served as a signaler in combat operations for the South African forces in North Africa and Italy.2Joe Slovo, Signaller, WW2
In 1992, Slovo secured a major breakthrough in the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa by presenting the “sunset clauses” developed by the ANC/SACP leadership: a coalition government for five years following democratic elections, guarantees for civil servants, including the homelands and armed forces, and an amnesty process. These were intended to head off right-wing coups and destabilization.