John Beaver Marks
Marks, John Beaver
Born Mar. 21, 1903, in Fentersdorp; died Aug. 1, 1972, in Moscow. Leader of the communist and national liberation movements of the Republic of South Africa. Son of an African worker.
Marks received a primary education and worked as a white farmer’s metayer and unskilled worker from 1915 to 1919. In 1923 he graduated from a teachers college in Pretoria and became a schoolteacher. Marks entered political life in the middle of the 1920’s, and in 1928 he joined the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and the African National Congress (ANC). He was repeatedly arrested and persecuted by the South African authorities. In 1946, as president of a trade union of African miners, he led a strike of 100,000 miners in Witwatersrand. He was a member of the Central Committee of the CPSA from 1932. Marks became party chairman in 1962. He was elected to the National Executive Committee of the ANC in 1945.