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30 Things you don’t know about Tokyo Sexwale

Tokyo Sexwale

1.  Full name Mosima Gabriel “Tokyo” Sexwale

2.   Tokyo Sexwale was born on the 5th of March 1953 in the township of Orlando West in Soweto

3.   His father was a clerk at Johannesburg General Hospital

4.  Tokyo Sexwale Matriculated at Orlando West High School in 1973.

5.  Tokyo Sexwale became a member of the Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness Movement in the late 1960s and became a local leader of the radical South African Students’ Movement

6.  In the early 1970s, Tokyo Sexwale joined the African National Congress’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“spear of the nation”)

7.  While in Swaziland, Tokyo Sexwale completed a Certificate in Business Studies at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland

8.  In 1975, Tokyo Sexwale went into exile, undergoing military officers’ training in the Soviet Union, where he specialized in military engineering

9.  in 1976, Tokyo Sexwale was captured after a skirmish with the South African security forces and, along with 11 others, was charged and later convicted of terrorism and conspiracy to overthrow the government after an almost two-year long trial in the Supreme Court of South Africa in Pretoria. In 1977, Sexwale was sent to the Robben Island maximum-security prison to serve an 18-year sentence

10.  While imprisoned at Robben Island, Tokyo Sexwale studied for a BCom degree at the University of South Africa.

11.  Tokyo Sexwale has two children by a first wife, and two children by his second wife, Judy van Vuuren, a paralegal he met on Robben Island

12.  After his release, Tokyo Sexwale returned to Johannesburg, where he served as head of the public liaison department of the African National Congress Headquarters. He was subsequently appointed the head of special projects, reporting to the ANC’s military headquarters

13.  In September 1990, Tokyo Sexwale was elected as a member of the executive committee of the ANC in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV) region. He became the chairperson of the ANC in the PWV region in 1991, a position he held until his resignation in late 1997.

14.  After the South African elections in April 1994, Tokyo Sexwale was elected as the first premier of the new PWV Province (renamed Gauteng Province in December 1994)

15.  Tokyo Sexwale left politics for the corporate sector in 1998

16.  Sexwale admitted on BBC’s Hard Talk that if asked to stand for the elections as party president by structures of the ANC, he would seriously consider it.  He was elected to the ANC’s 80-member National Executive Committee in December 2007 in 10th place, with 2,198 votes

17.  On 10 May 2009, President Jacob Zuma appointed Sexwale as Minister of Human Settlements, a ministry which replaced the Department of Housing

18.  Tokyo Sexwale has become a major player in the diamond industry, with his company reportedly being the third biggest after De Beers and JFPI Corporation

19.  Tokyo Sexwale also chairs companies such as the Trans Hex Group Ltd. and Northam Platinum Ltd.; in addition, he is a director of companies such as Absa Group Limited, Allied Electronics Corporation Ltd. (more commonly known as Altech) and Gold Fields Ltd. (the latter two positions are non-executive)

20.  Tokyo Sexwale is also known as a philanthropist and is a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Global Philanthropists Circle of the Synergos Institute, the Business Trust and the Robben Island Ex-Prisoners Trust

21.  Tokyo Sexwale is a patron of societies such as Johannesburg Child and Family Welfare Society, Streetwise South Africa (an organisation dedicated to assisting street children), Save the Family Fund (catering for families and communities ravaged by apartheid violence) and The Sky is No Limit (which aims to expose disadvantaged youths to hi-tech education in computers and aviation)

22.  In 2005, Tokyo Sexwale hosted the South African version of the reality game show The Apprentice

23.  Tokyo Sexwale currently serves as the seat holder for A1 Team South Africa, racing in A1 Grand Prix, and was a member of the organising committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was held in South Africa

24.  Upon leaving the public sector, Sexwale founded Mvelaphanda Holdings (mvelaphanda is the Venda word for “progress”), a company of which he is still executive chairman. Mvelaphanda is primarily focused on the mining, energy and related sectors. Some of Sexwale’s main interests are oil and diamond mining, for which he has been granted concessions across Africa and Russia

25.  His nickname of “Tokyo” is derived from his involvement with the sport of karate as a youth.

26.   In 2002, Tokyo Sexwale was refused a visa to enter the United States, which kept him from attending the listing of Gold Fields (a company in which he holds a 15 percent stake) on the New York Stock Exchange. It later transpired that he, along with many prominent South African anti-apartheid figures such as Nelson Mandela and South African cabinet minister Sidney Mufamadi, were still on that country’s list of global terrorists. In April 2008 the waiver was lifted and the ANC members along with the ANC were removed from the terrorist list in the USA

27.  Tokyo Sexwale has received many honours and awards, including the Légion d’honneur from France, an honorary doctorate in technology from Nottingham Trent University, an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from De Montfort University, the Order of the Freedom of Havana (Cuba), the Cross of Valour (Ruby Class) from South Africa, and the Reach and Teach Leadership Award, from the United States. He is also chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology.

28.  Tokyo Sexwale is also an honorary colonel in the South African Air Force and chair of the Council for the Support of National Defence, whose aim is to encourage part-time military service as well as building support in society for those who wish to serve in the military as volunteers

29.   In 2004, Tokyo Sexwale was voted 43rd in the list of “Top 100 Great South Africans”

30.  Tokyo Sexwale holds positions in many international organisations, such as President of the South African/Russian Business, Technological and Cultural Association and Vice President of the South African/Japanese Business Forum. He is also an Honorary Consul General of Finland in South Africa

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