H. E. Dr. Zola Skweyiya
Why I became a Patron
Giveall reaches across the divide to bring equality to all Charities. Every Charity can now access resources and have the ability to raise funds on the same basis as any other large Charity at no cost!
For the large Charity, the cost savings are enormous, for the small Charity, every penny counts and makes a difference to those needy people in our deprived society.
Giveall's programmes are epitomised through their strap lines "going where giving should". This is critical to ensure that every donor has the assurance that whatever is given to Charity actually gets through to the beneficiaries at the least cost and so makes the most impact.
I joined the Charity as a Patron to add my support to this most worthwhile cause.
Born in Simons Town in 1942, Zola Skweyiya lived his childhood amid the poverty of depressed communities. After the family moved to Port Elizabeth he attended primary school in New Brighton and then in Retreat, Cape Town. Here the Catholic Church organised activities such as tours of the Peninsula to keep ghetto children out of mischief. These tours provided their only view of a world beyond poverty, but Skweyiya also expanded his world-view through reading. He was offered a scholarship at Lovedale High School where he participated in school boycotts against the introduction of Bantu Education in 1953. The experience convinced him of the need to foster unity among Africans and he joined the ANC in 1956.
The multi-racial makeup of the ANC leadership and their united stand after their arrest for treason deeply impressed him. He matriculated from Lovedale in 1960. Around this time he met and worked with Govan Mbeki and Mbeki's commitment to action and sound knowledge of rural politics strengthened his feeling that the ANC was on the right track. When Mandela went abroad to seek military training facilities for the ANC, Skweyiya was one of those who mobilised support among the people for Umkhonto we Sizwe. By 1963 he was in danger of being arrested. Travelling to Tanzania, he worked for the ANC until a move to the Lusaka office in 1965. The liberation of African countries from colonialism in the '60s kindled and sustained his belief that one day South Africa would be free.
His intellectual abilities were soon recognised and in 1968 the movement arranged for him to study law as a guest of the German Democratic Republic. In 1978 he received an LLD at the University of Leipzig.
He then worked for the ANC in various offices and capacities, travelling extensively throughout the world and publishing articles in many journals. Skweyiya returned from exile in June 1990, and was shocked at the deprivation and homelessness of Africans. Since his return he has directed the Department of Legal and Constitutional Affairs. He was elected to the NEC and is also a member of the NWC. He helped to set up the Centre for Development Studies and the South African Legal Defence Fund, both at the University of the Western Cape.
Dr. Skweyiya also serves on the board of trustees of the National Commission for the Rights of Children. He was also elected as president of UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations
Dr. Skweyiya was first elected to Parliament in 1994, and he joined the Mandela Cabinet as Minister of Public Service and Administration in the same year. He was moved to the position of Minister of Social Development under President Thabo Mbeki in 1999.
After 15 years in the Cabinet and Parliament, his retirement from both was announced on 6 May 2009, following the April 2009 general election. He has not left politics altogether and remains a member of the ANC National Executive Committee. Dr Zola Skweyiya was appointed by President Zuma to represent the people of the Republic of South Africa as the South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. A role he has fulfilled since September 2009.