Jakes Gerwel

Jakes Gerwel (18 January 1946 – 28 November 2012) was a South African academic and anti-apartheid activist. He served as Director-General of the Presidency when Nelson Mandela was in office. In 1999 Gerwel was instrumental in brokering the deal under which Lockerbie bombing suspects were extradited to Scotland.[1] Following Mandela's presidency, Gerwel chaired the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, and also took up a number of academic and business positions until his death in November 2012.[2]

Jakes Gerwel
Director-General, Office of the President of South Africa
In office
PresidentNelson Mandela
Secretary of the Cabinet, Government of National Unity
In office
PresidentNelson Mandela
Chancellor, Rhodes University
In office
Preceded byGavin Relly
Succeeded byLex Mpati
Vice-Chancellor, University of the Western Cape
In office
Personal details
Gert Johannes Gerwel

January 18, 1946
Somerset East, South Africa
DiedNovember 28, 2012
Cape Town, South Africa
CitizenshipSouth African
Political partyAfrican National Congress
Spouse(s)Phoebe Gerwel (née Abrahams)
Alma materUniversity of Brussels, University of the Western Cape
PositionsGlobal Chairman, Aurecon (2009–2012)
Chairman, Media24 (2007-2012)
Chairman, South African Airways (2004)
Chairperson of Policy Committee, Cricket World Cup (2003)
Chair, Human Sciences Research Council (1999–2012)

Teaching careerEdit

Gerwel matriculated from Paterson High School in Port Elizabeth, and in 1967 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He then lectured at the Hewat Teachers' Training College in Crawford, Cape Town for a short time before receiving a scholarship, in 1971, to study at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). On his return to South Africa, Gerwel first taught at Grassy Park High School and then returned to UWC as a lecturer.[3]


In 2015 Vanguard Drive, a major road running from Cape Town's southern suburbs to the Cape Flats (the M7 road), was renamed in Jakes Gerwel's honour.[4]

Jakes Gerwel Technical School in Bonnievale, Western Cape is named in after him.[5]


  1. ^ "Jakes Gerwel, South African academic who was a friend and aide to Nelson Mandela, dies at 66". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 November 2012.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Rhodes mourns the passing of its Chancellor". Rhodes University. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  3. ^ Sapa (29 November 2012). "Sagacious Gerwel leaves rich legacy". The New Age.
  4. ^ Jan Cronje (18 January 2015). "Vanguard Drive named after Jakes Gerwel". Weekend Argus. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  5. ^ "FEEL GOOD | How a tiny rural village came together to build a top Cape high school". Parent. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.