Political activist Kumi Naidoo was born in Durban in 1965. He holds a D.Phil. in Politics from Magdalen College, Oxford. Kumi’s political activism began in 1981 when, at the age of 15, he was expelled from school for protesting against apartheid. In spite of constant harassment by the police, he managed to complete his matric. Due to the state of emergency he was arrested and charged in 1986, he fled South Africa in 1987.
He returned to South Africa a month after Nelson Mandela’s release and worked on setting up the ANC as a legal political party. In 1994, he served in the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as the national director of training and as an official spokesperson. He also worked as a Researcher, Journalist, University lecturer and youth counsellor, and has published and spoken widely on issues relating to civil society, education and resistance to apartheid. He was the head of the Civicus. Kumi will take up the role of Executive Director of Greenpeace International from November 2009.