A biographical study within the framework of a research project on the exile of the ANC examines the impact of exile and elements of exile on the development of ANC leaders dominating today's political elite in South Africa. Eight biographies out of a more comprehensive study case on former exiles from different population groups, generations and hierarchical structures are being analysed as far as complex developments ranging from youth experiences in South Africa to the effects of exile, return and reorientation are concerned. Processes of political socialisation in exile prove to be complex. Personal development of exiles has been shaped by education and training, political integration and tasks within the ANC, discipline and structures of exile, experiences and cosmopolitanism. In most cases exile had a decisive impact on the professional and political as well as personal development and shaping of exiles. Qualifications and experiences of exile explain primarily careers and positions of former exiles in today's South Africa without underestimating personal connections, friendships and networks. The totality of different exile experiences seems to be an important criteria for a political career in the new South Africa but loyalty to the ANC remains a decisive factor.