Khoisan X

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Khoisan X (4 March 1955 – 13 October 2010), formerly Benny Alexander, was a South African political activist born in Kimberley, South Africa.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bennett Alexander was the third child of Estelle and Johann Alexander, a labourer in Kimberley, the city where he grew up. He matriculated from the William Pescod High School, Kimberley, in 1975. Following initial employment with the South African government Department of Manpower, until 1981, Alexander served for a year on a Christian youth team which travelled around Zimbabwe and South Africa, before he moved to Johannesburg where he worked for a pharmaceutical company.

Labour activist[edit]

At this time Alexander helped to form the Black Health and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, serving as a senior shop steward and vice-chairperson of the local shop stewards’ committee. He also chaired the union’s national advisory committee. From 1986 he took up full-time employment with the South African Black Municipal and Allied Workers Union, an affiliate of the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu).

Political career[edit]

In 1989 Alexander became person aide to Zeph Mothopong, President of the Pan-Africanist Congress, following his release from Robben Island. He accompanied Mothopong to the United States and the United Kingdom, April to August 1989, taking in Kenya and Zimbabwe (where the Organisation of African Unity was meeting).

On his return later that year Alexander was a founding member and elected as first General Secretary of the Pan-Africanist Movement, a legal front for the PAC. He was elected to the same position at the PAC's first congress after its unbanning in 1990.

!X was, for a time, a member of the new formed Gauteng Provincial Legislature, and chaired a committee that decided on the name Gauteng for the province at the time called the PWV Province (Pretoria, Witwatersrand, Vaal Triangle).[2]

He stepped down as Secretary General in 1994.

Indigenous rights and business interests[edit]

Alexander withdrew from politics in 1996/7, to focus on his studies, NGO and civic structures, and to build black empowerment structures,[3] becoming a champion for indigenous interests, referring to his San and Griqua roots. He legally changed his name from Benny Alexander to Khoisan X, and acted as adviser to Adam Kok V, a Griqua leader in the Northern Cape. He also pursued business interests related to tourism.

In 2008 he was part of an attempt to form a PAC splinter group - the Bloemfontein High Court however forbade the group from using the PAC's colours or name.

Death and legacy[edit]

Khoisan X died of a stroke in Johannesburg.[3] He was buried in Kimberley on 23 October 2010.[4]

A street in Galeshewe, Kimberley, "Benny Alexander Avenue", is named in his honour.[5]