Alfred Nzo, 74, South Africa's first post-apartheid foreign minister and a key organizer of the African National Congress during a quarter-century in exile, died Jan. 13 at a hospital here after a stroke.

He joined then-President Nelson Mandela's Cabinet after the 1994 all-race elections that ended white-minority rule, becoming the country's first black foreign affairs minister. He was replaced after Thabo Mbeki was elected president last year and retired from an active role in politics.

Mr. Nzo kept a low profile during his tenure as foreign minister and was seen by critics as less influential than Mbeki, who as vice president was said to be the driving force in foreign policy.

Following Mandela's release from prison in 1990, Mr. Nzo served on an ANC delegation that undertook talks with the National Party government that ruled under apartheid.

Mr. Nzo was an ANC elder statesman, a member of the generation that became politically involved in the 1940s and began the movement's active struggle against apartheid. Like Mandela and others, he was repeatedly arrested and detained, losing his job as a health inspector in Alexandra, a black township in Johannesburg.

Mr. Nzo went into exile in 1964 and went on to serve as ANC representative in Egypt, India and Tanzania.

"He was one of the key freedom fighters, and one of the longest serving secretary-generals of the ANC," said ANC Party spokesman Smuts Ngonyama. Mr. Nzo held that post from 1969 to 1991, which gave him day-to-day responsibility for the movement's operations.

Survivors include his wife and a son.