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A giant anti-apartheid veteran, true Afrikaner and patriotic South African … counted among the greatest heroes of the struggle of our people. 

— Nelson Mandela

Book information

ISBN: 978-1-919855-02-8

Trim size: 240 x 160mm

Binding: paperback

Page count:  246 pages  

Imagery: Black & white photographs

Cost: R275.00

Genre:  Biography



What is an intellectual? The term conjures, perhaps, images of armchairs in university studies and shelves packed with dusty tomes; of meticulous research and stringent, challenging argument.

The late Jack Simons lived that life – and many more besides. He was a distinguished academic whose writings on South African history and institutions won international recognition. He was a fearless revolutionary: a man who never compromised the rigour of his research and analysis but who used his findings in the service of the struggle
against apartheid. He was a dedicated teacher: in the classroom, in his own home — and in the military camps of Umkhonto we Sizwe in Angola.

Jack Simons the teacher is the focus of this book. It draws together the affectionate recollections of his students and colleagues and the manuscripts that survive from his various political education lecture series.  It sets those in the context of his life by means of a biographical sketch and the memories of family members.
In material never before published, it frames his teaching in the Angolan camps with extracts from his own diary of the time.

Already advanced in years, Simons stoically battled malaria and spartan food, escaping apartheid air raids by a whisker, as he recorded detailed acerbic — and sometimes extraordinarily prescient — comments on
colleagues, countries and political concepts.

This is not the extensive biography Simons’ life still demands, but it provides a wealth of insights — intellectual and human — into the character of a heroic educator and a truly remarkable man.

Comrade Jack sketches the life of the late Jack Simons, an independent-minded Marxist scholar, activist, revolutionary, teacher and hero of the South African struggle. It details his dynamic political lectures in the camps of Umkhonto we Sizwe in Angola and Tanzania. Through his diaries, he reveals the experiences of the people in those camps where he taught, many of whom are in government today.

Forewords by Dr O. R. Tambo and Kgalema Motlanthe


Marion Sparg, et al.