Elias Sekgobelo Magashule
Comrade Elias Magashule was born at Tumahole, Parys in the Free State Province. Growing up, he was actively involved in drama, soccer and boxing. Comrade Magashule played midfield in his day and wore number 8. His prowess on the soccer field earned him the nickname “Ace” – a name that stuck to this day.
Comrade Magashule found a natural home in the anti-apartheid struggle. He was a founder member of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in 1979. Whilst a student, he was arrested and charged with high treason in 1982 and subsequently detained several times under the Internal Security Act, and was also held in solitary confinement for nine months in 1985.
Politically, comrade Magashule was mentored by Chris Hani and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. He participated in the founding of the United Democratic Front in the 1980s. After spending some time in exile, comrade Magashule was elected the chairperson of the ANC’s Northern Free State region after the unbanning of the ANC. After the merger of the ANC’s northern and southern regions in 1994, comrade Magashule continued to serve in various leadership positions. Having continuously been elected Provincial Chairperson, he became the longest serving ANC Provincial Chairperson. At the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference, he was directly elected as an additional member to the National Executive Committee. Comrade Magashule also serves as the Premier of the Free State, a position he has held since 2009.