Zachariah Keodirelang Matthews completed a BA at Fort Hare University College (whose students were registered with Unisa) and a Bachelor of Law at Unisa.
Z.K. Matthews was born near Kimberley in the Northern Cape. He was the son of a mineworker and cousin to pioneering African intellectual Sol Plaatje, and later became the most influential black academic of his time. He was schooled at Lovedale, a missionary institution in the Eastern Cape that accepted scholars of all races, and after his university education in South Africa, attended Yale and the London School of Economics. In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, Matthews worked as an academic at Fort Hare, where he created a culture of questioning that inspired a student body filled with future African leaders. He also held senior positions in the ANC and conceived of the defining democratic event of the 1950s, the Congress of the People, and its guiding document, the Freedom Charter. He retired to Botswana in 1965 and in 1966, was appointed Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States, where he died two years later.