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1952: Born in Johannesburg.1972: Became involved in student politics. 1974: Detained for 11 months for organizing anti-apartheid rally. 1976: Detained second time. 1981: Graduated as a lawyer and joined the Council of Unions of South Africa. 1982: Helped found the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) and became its first general secretary. 1984: Led first-ever legal strike by black mine workers. 1985: Was key player in forming the black trade union federation COSATU. 1987: Led mine workers in one of the largest strikes in the country's history. 1988: Led talks with officials on Soweto rent boycott. 1991: Helped organize the Metropolitan Chamber linking Johannesburg and Soweto. Brokered historic gold-mining accord linking wages to productivity. In July, was elected secretary-general of the African National Congress.

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