JOHANNESBURG – Officials say Jakes Gerwel, a longtime friend and aide to former South African President Nelson Mandela, has died. He was 66.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation said Gerwel died early Wednesday morning after undergoing heart surgery earlier in the week.
Gerwel, a leading academic, became active in the struggle against South Africa's apartheid government in the late 1960s. Gerwel was arrested several times and later joined the African National Congress. When Mandela became president in 1994, Gerwel became his director-general, the South African version of a chief of staff.
After Mandela left office, Gerwel helped lead the president's foundation, and also served on a number of corporate boards in South Africa.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced Wednesday.