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Name: Rasool, Ebrahim
Current Position: Ambassador

Prior to becoming South Africa’s ambassador to the United States in July 2010, Ebrahim Rasool was in the thick of his country’s politics. The Muslim leader spent years fighting the apartheid government and eventually rose to become a regional governor, during which he reportedly paid journalists to write friendly articles about his leadership. According to a U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, Rasool introduced himself to U.S. ambassador Don Gips as “a non-violent Islamic militant, a non-fundamentalist revolutionary, and a non-extremist radical.”

Born on July 15, 1962, in Capetown, Rasool was nine years old when his family was forced to move from District Six because the Apartheid government decided the area was for whites only.
In 1980, he graduated from Livingstone High School in Claremont. He received a Bachelor of Arts (1983) and a Higher Diploma in Education (1984) from the University of Cape Town.
In 1985, he took a teaching position at Spine Road High School for one year.
His joined the anti-apartheid movement, and eventually assumed leadership roles in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the African National Congress (ANC) and spent time in prison and under house arrest for his political activities.
From 1991 to 1994, he served as assistant to the rector of the University of the Western Cape.
During the 1990s, Rasool held posts in the government, including in the departments of health, welfare, finance and economic development.
In 2004, he became premier of the Western Cape province. Four years later, he was forced from his office as a result of in-fighting within the ANC.
Rasool then served as special advisor to the president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, before being elected a member of parliament in the National Assembly.
While attending diplomatic school in Pretoria in preparation for his ambassadorship, it was revealed that Rasool paid two local journalists to write favorable stories on his behalf during his time as premier in the Western Cape.
Another embarrassing revelation came by way of WikiLeaks. A U.S. State Department cable published by the whistleblower website said Rasool blamed his fall as premier on ANC
leaders tiring of “preferences given to the large colored and Muslim population of the Western Cape.”
In 2008 Rasool founded the World for All Foundation, which aims to oppose extremism and bring together moderates of different races and religions.
He and his wife, Rosieda Shabodien, have a son and a daughter.
Official Biography (Embassy of South Africa)
Ebrahim Rasool Explains Why He Was Fired (by Thanduxolo Jika, News 24)
What Rasool Told the Americans (State Department Cable from Donald Gips)
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