Darkey Africa, was born on 12 January 1958 in Huhudi Township, just outside Vryburg, in what is now the Bophirima District of the North-West Province. He was educated at Moeti Lower Primary School, John Frylinck Higher Primary School and, in the 1970s, Bopaganang High School. Subsequently, he attended Batlhaping High School in Taung from where he was expelled in as a result of his involvement in political activities. He then enrolled privately for Matriculation studies and matriculated in 1981.
Together with Hoffman Galeng, Khotso Cruitse, Bushy Maape and Jomo Khatsu, he was instrumental in the formation of the Huhudi Civic Association in 1983.
An Umkonto we Sizwe (MK) operative, Darkey Africa was an active member of the Kalahari underground machinery of the African National Congress, (ANC). In this role, Africa made his first contact with the ANC in Lesotho 1982. Subsequently, he was often required to travel to Lesotho or Botswana for instructions and funds from the ANC for the furthering of the movement's objectives. In the early 1980s, Africa became a member of a cell involved in recruiting young people in the Vryburg and Kimberly areas and sending them out of the country for MK training. It was very risky business. In 1982, for example, just two days after his return from meeting an MK contact in Lesotho, ANC bases in that country were attacked by South African security forces. For security reasons, however, Africa never got to know the real name of his contact, whose code name was known to him simply as 'Uncle.' Africa himself had two underground code names, 'Eagle' and 'Sydney.'
In 1985, when a member of the Kalahari MK underground machinery, Tlomelang Maape got arrested by the Security Police while visiting home in Vryburg. Under severe torture, Maape revealed the identities of Darkey Africa and other members of his cell. Consequently, Africa was detained under the notorious Section 29 for 8 months, when he was released without charge. Africa went to live in the safer area of Johannesburg, but would sometimes return incognito to Vryburg, Taung and Kimberly on ANC/MK secret missions. In June 1986, Africa was detained again by the Vryburg Security Police for a further 5 months. During this period, he was severely tortured while in solitary confinement and eventually released without any charges.
On his release from detention in 1987, Africa was elected President of the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) for the Northern Cape region. After a short spell of freedom, he was detained yet again under the same Section 29 of the Internal Security Act and spent 9 months in prison, following which he was released without being charged. When Africa was released from custody in 1988, he returned to Johannesburg. In 1988-1990, he was an organiser for SARWHU. He also served in the education structures of COSATU in the PWV region, where he remained until the unbanning of the ANC, when he returned to Huhudi. Here, he assisted in the revival of civic associations and the setting up of ANC structures in his home area, Huhudi, as well as the Northern Cape.
In 1991, the ANC sent Africa to India and the UK for training in Local Government, clearly in anticipation of the ANC coming to power in the not too distant future. In 1992, he was elected Deputy Secretary of the ANC for the Northern Cape. He also served briefly as an elections coordinator and was instrumental in the formation of the regional civic organisation, SANCO, in which he served as Vice-President.
In 1994, he was appointed to a ministerial position in the new provincial government of the North-West. During his first tenure as MEC, Africa studied for and obtained an MA degree in Governance and Political Transformation from the University of the Free State in 2002. Later, he obtained another degree from the same university, this time in Development Studies. He is currently enrolled for a doctoral degree in political studies at the same university.
Since September 2005, he has been MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism for the Province. He is a member of the ANC's Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) as well as Acting Deputy Chairperson of SANCO in the Province. In 2016, he was appointed South Africa's Consul-General to Nigeria where is based in Lagos.