Alex Boraine’s life is a fascinating story of fighting injustice and turning dreams into reality. A child of the Great Depression, he rose from lowly beginnings in a working-class family to become head of the Methodist Church, an MP for the oppositional Progressive Federal Party and deputy chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this candid memoir, Boraine also deals with the sacrifices made by his family, his battle against cancer, and the challenges, hopes and achievements of South Africa as well as other countries in transition from dictatorship to democracy.
A Life in Transition includes fascinating insights into people whom Boraine worked with or met, including Harry Oppenheimer, Steve Biko, Helen Suzman, Van Zyl Slabbert, Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu and covers political events in some of the world’s trouble spots, from Serbia to Sierra Leone, Liberia to Latin America.
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Alex Boraine was born in Cape Town in 1931. He served as President of the Methodist Church of South Africa, served in Parliament, co-founded the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa, founded Justice in Transition and after doing significant groundwork for its establishment was appointed deputy chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Since the TRC completed its work in 1998, Alex Boraine has travelled to many countries that are in transition from dictatorship to democracy, at the invitation of governments and NGOs, to share the South African experience. He is currently visiting Professor of Law at New York University, and divides his time between New York and Cape Town.
Bishop Desmond Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. His father was a teacher, and he himself was educated at Johannesburg Bantu High School. After leaving school he trained first as a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College and in 1954 he graduated from the University of South Africa. After three years as a high school teacher he began to study theology, being ordained as a priest in 1960. The years 1962-66 were devoted to further theological study in England leading up to a Master of Theology. From 1967 to 1972 he taught theology in South Africa before returning to England for three years as the assistant director of a theological institute in London. In 1975 he was appointed Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 he was Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu is an honorary doctor of a number of leading universities in the USA, Britain and Germany.
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