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Ben Turok

Ben Turok

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Ben Turok is a former anti-apartheid activist and current South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n member of parliament and a member of the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...


He was born in Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 in 1927 and came with his family to South Africa in 1934. He graduated from the University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
The University of Cape Town is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, and is the oldest university in South Africa and the second oldest extant university in Africa.-History:The roots of...

 in 1950. Returning to South Africa in 1953, he joined the South African Congress of Democrats and in 1955 became its secretary for the Cape western region, acting as a full-time organiser for the Congress of the People. He was arrested in the Treason Trial
Treason Trial
The Treason Trial was a trial in which 156 people, including Nelson Mandela, were arrested in a raid and accused of treason in South Africa in 1956....

 in 1956 and stood trial until charges against him were withdrawn in 1958.

His wife, the former Mary Butcher, was also prominent member of the COD and later served a six months' sentence for aiding the illegal ANC. In 1962 he was convicted under the Explosives Act and sentenced to three years in prison.

Before the unbanning of the ANC and the dismantling of apartheid, Turok lived in Barnet
High Barnet or Chipping Barnet is a place in the London Borough of Barnet, North London, England. It is a suburban development built around a twelfth-century settlement and is located north north-west of Charing Cross. Its name is often abbreviated to Barnet, which is also the name of the London...

 in North London and was a member of the British Labour Party.

He is now on the faculty of London's Open University
Open University
The Open University is a distance learning and research university founded by Royal Charter in the United Kingdom...

, for which he wrote a lengthy study in 1975: "Inequality as State Policy: The South African Case." His writings also include "South Africa: The Search for a Strategy," in The Socialist Register 1973 and a booklet, Strategic Problems in South Africa's Liberation Struggle: A Critical Analysis (1974).

He is currently director of the Institute for African alternatives.

He is the father of Neil Turok
Neil Turok
Neil Geoffrey Turok is the Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is the son of Mary and Ben Turok, activists in the anti-apartheid movement and the African National Congress.-Career:...

, one of the world's leading cosmologists, and founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is a tertiary education and research institute in Muizenberg, South Africa, established in September 2003...

 in Muizenberg
Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. It is situated where the shore of the Cape Peninsula curves round to the east on the False Bay coast...

, South Africa.

This veteran ANC MP is expected to face disciplinary proceedings by the ANC after publicly explaining why he broke party ranks and did not vote for the controversial Protection of Information Bill, aka the Secrecy Bill, on 22 November 2011. The bill if finally enacted, will, other than protecting the the state's security apparatus, enable Ministers' to hide corruption in their departments. Turok was instrumental in helping draw up the Freedom Charter and also served time in jail under apartheid. - ref iol.co.za 24/11/2011.http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/non-vote-mp-faces-anc-wrath-1.1185357

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