Aziz Pahad was born on 25 December 1940, Schweizer Reneke, North West Province. In 1959 he matriculated at Central Indian High School, Johannesburg, Transvaal (now Gauteng) and followed this with a BA Degree with Majors in Sociology and Afrikaans in1963 from University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In 1966, he obtained a Diploma in International Relations from the University College of London and in 1968, Pahad graduated with a MA Degree in International Relations from the University of Sussex, England.

In 1963, Pahad was banned, which restricted his movement and prevented him from attending public gatherings. During this time he was often detained for short periods for violating his banning order.

Following the Rivonia Trial, he left South Africa for exile in 1964. He lived mostly in London, and also spent time in Angola and Zimbabwe. In 1966, Pahad started working full-time for the African National Congress (ANC), developing the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the United Kingdom and Europe.

At the ANC’s Kabwe Conference in Zambia, from 16””23 June 1985, Pahad was elected on to the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

In 1990 he returned to South Africa from exile and in 1991 was appointed Deputy Head of the ANC Department of International Affairs. Between 1991- 1992 he became a member of the National Peace Executive Committee. In 1994 he served on the Transitional Executive Council's Sub-Council on Foreign Affairs.

After South Africa’s democratic elections in 1994, Pahad was elected as Member of Parliament and was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. A position he was re-appointed to in South Africa’s elections in 1999 and 2004 and which post he continued to serve until 2008.

In September 2008, Pahad resigned his Cabinet position following Judge Chris Nicholson’s judgement in which he said that then-President Thabo Mbeki and his Cabinet interfered politically in the work of the National Prosecuting Authority and to criminal charges related to Jacob Zuma. Pahad said these were serious allegations “which asserts that we have collectively violated the Constitution and acted illegally and criminally and [are] therefore liable for prosecution”. On this basis he tendered his resignation.


IRC, (2013), Profile: Mr. Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister, from International Relations and Cooperation, [online], Available at [Accessed: 28 April 2014]|M&G, (2008), Pahad steps down as deputy minister of foreign affairs from Mail & Guardian, 27 September [online], Available at  [Accessed: 28 April 2014]|Gerhart, G. M., & Glaser, C.L., (2010), From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1990 - Challenge and Victory, 1980-1990, [online], Available at [Accessed: 25 April 2014]

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