Johannes "Joe" Modise (23 May 1929 – 26 November 2001) was a South African political figure.
He helped to found Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, and was its longest serving Commander in Chief, deputised at different points in time by Joe Slovo and Chris Hani.
Modise headed MK for a 25-year period, from 1965 to 1990.
He served as South Africa's first black Minister of Defence from 1994 to 1999 and led the formation of the post-independence defence force.
As a PUTCO bus driver from Sophiatown, Gauteng, he became interested in the struggle against apartheid at an early age.
He at first chose only non-violent means, being arrested with Nelson Mandela and 154 others and tried for treason.
All were acquitted.
In the 1960s, the South African government were using increasingly violent means to suppress anti-Apartheid activists, and Modise became a guerrilla fighter.
He organized resistance groups and trained many other guerrilla fighters.
Modise became Commander in Chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe ("MK") following the Rivonia Trial during which other MK high command members such as Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Dennis Goldberg, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Elias Motsoaledi's were sentenced to life imprisonment.
By 1990, Modise and other representatives of the African National Congress met with the white government.
When Mandela was elected President in 1994, he chose Modise as his Defense Minister.
Modise was charged with integrating the many sections of guerrilla fighters into the new South African National Defence Force (SANDF).