Obed Mlaba was born in Estcourt, Natal, in 1943. He underwent both his primary and secondary schooling in Natal first at a Roman Catholic Missionary school and then proceeded to St Augustine for his matric. From a young age, Obed always displayed a keen interest in the discourse towards the attainment of freedom for all in South Africa thus culminating in his active participation in grassroots civic movement activities.
At first, Obed participated in the struggle as a member of the Umlazi Resident Association from which he then moved on to the United Democratic Front (UDF). Following the unbanning of the African National Congress in February of 1990, Obed then joined the party and participated actively in its KZN branch.
After South Africa’s historic transition to multiparty politics, Obed became the first Mayor of Durban in 1996. Simultaneously, he held the titles of Chairman of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Local Government Association and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). At the end of his tenure as Mayor, Obed had become one of South Africa’s longest serving Mayor with a mayoral term spanning more than 15 years.
He is currently South Africa’s sixth High Commissioner to the United Kingdom since 1994.
Page updated 04/06/2014