Jeremy Cronin was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1949. His first year as a student at Cape Town University coincided with the student rebellions in Europe and the United States that had echoes in South Africa. Cronin got caught up in the rebellion and also rapidly became involved in anti-apartheid activities. From 1972 to 1973, he studied at the Sorbonne university in Paris, where he developed an interest in Marxist theory. Three years after his return to South Africa he was captured by the apartheid security police and sentenced to a seven-year prison term for terrorism (as the court described the production and distribution of pamphlets). While in prison, his first wife died, and he was prohibited from attending her funeral. From his cell, 20 meters away from death row, he could hear the sounds of the gallows when people were hanged. After his release he became active with the United Democratic Front, the legal South African opposition movement. In 1986, Cronin went underground during the two states of emergency and narrowly escaped arrest. At the end of 1987, he left the country. He came back after the lifting of the ban of the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress (ANC) in 1990. When the Berlin Wall came down, he was living in exile in the Zambian capital Lusaka where the ANC had its headquarters. He is currently a National Executive Committee member of the ANC and the deputy general secretary of the Communist Party. His publications include two collections of poetry, Inside (1983) and Even the Dead (1997).

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