Dumisani Makhaye was born in Cato Manor in 1955. When he was three his family was removed under the Group Areas Act, moving to KwaMashu. His participation in the demonstrations and street marches that were part of the 1976 student protests brought him to the attention of the police and in late 1976 he went into exile. He underwent military training in Angola where he came into contact with MK commanders like Joe Modise, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and Cassius Maake. He then spent two years studying political science in Cuba before being sent for further military training in East Germany. When he returned, he became part of MK’s command structure in Swaziland, responsible for sending units into South Africa and planning operations. In the mid-1980s he was arrested by Swazi officials and deported to Tanzania. From there he was sent to Lusaka where he worked in the ANC’s department of information and publicity. After the unbanning of the ANC he became a member of the ANC’s national executive committee and at various times minister of housing, agriculture, the environment, local government and traditional affairs in KwaZulu-Natal.