Silas Modiri Molema was born in 1891 in Mafikeng. He was educated at Lovedale Institution where he matriculated. He moved to Europe and was admitted into the medical school at the University of Glasgow where he graduated as a medical doctor in 1919. He returned to South Africa in 1921 to follow his profession. His practice in the town served all races, until he was forced by the Group Areas Act to move from the Mafikeng city centre. He published three works on the history of the Barolong. He became active in politics from 1936 after the passing of the Hertzog Bills, which removed the qualified franchise for African voters in the Cape, and his involvement was extended further in 1940 when Dr A.B. Xuma assumed leadership. He was National Treasurer of the ANC from December 1949 until 1953. He also served on the African Advisory Council, Joint Advisory Council and the Constitutional Committee. He was arrested for civil disobedience in the 1952 Defiance Campaign, he was later forced to resign his position as a member and office bearer of the ANC in September 1953 in terms of the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. He died on 13 August 1965.