Leon Levy was born in Johannesburg in 1929, to Mary and Mark Levy, Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. Along with his twin brother, Norman, Leon became politically active at the age of 16 as a trade unionist. He joined the SACP in 1946, and in the decade that followed, played an influential role in the formation of South Africa’s first non-racial trade union federation, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU).
He served as the president of SACTU for 9 years, fighting not only for better working conditions, but for the wider liberation struggle as well. As a result of his opposition to the Apartheid government he was repeatedly placed under banning orders, and ultimately charged with high treason in 1956.
From left: Albie Sachs, Denis Goldberg and Ruth First. Click on the the faces to read more about them.