Bantubonke Harrington Holomisa was born on 25 July 1955 in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape. He joined the Transkei Defence Force in 1976 and had become a Brigadier by 1985.
Holomisa forced the resignation and exile of Prime Minister of Transkei George Matanzima in October 1987 and overthrew Matanzima's successor, Prime Minister Stella Sigcau in December 1987. Holomisa then became the Transkei's head of government from 1987 to 1994, when Transkei was reintegrated into South Africa.
In 1994 Holomisa was elected to the African National Congress National Executive Committee, and was the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism of South Africa. After testifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission he was expelled from the ANC on 30 September 1996.
He co-founded the United Democratic Movement in 1997 with Roelf Meyer, and was elected to parliament in 1999. Currently Holomisa is a South African Member of Parliament and President of the United Democratic Movement.