Charis (Charalambos) Gouvelis was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In 1989, he graduated from Wits University with a degree on African Politics and International Relations and in 2000 he received a master’s.
While a university student he served as chairman of the National Association of Hellenic Youth Organizations of South Africa (NAHYSOSA).
In 1991, he was elected to the Germiston City Council and in 1995 was reelected as ANC Party Representative Councilor.
He served as City Councilor for roughly 10 years, four years as Executive Committee Member and five as the Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Committee. He also served as ANC Germiston branch treasurer for three consecutive terms.
He worked as Public Sector Division adviser for Price Waterhouse, served as “Operation against Crime” programme director and was a senior Institutional Analyst for the South Africa Development Bank. Since 2001, he is the owner and director of a plastics production company.
In the period 1998-2002, Gouvelis was the chairman of the Federation of Greek Communities and Organizations of South Africa.
He served as SAE Asia-Africa Coordinating Council member for two terms.
He is among the founding members of the HIP alliance.
In 2004, South African President Mbeki appointed him member of the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. The Committee is a constitutionally established body guaranteeing Democracy in South Africa.
In December 2006, he was elected Africa-Near/Middle East Regional Coordinator for SAE.