A Life in Transition. Alex Boraine

Alex Boraine's fascinating life of fighting injustice in South Africa.
Boraine, Alex
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Book title: A Life in Transition. Alex Boraine
Author: Alex Boraine
Publisher: Zebra Press
Cape Town, South Africa 2008
ISBN: 9781770220126
Hardcover, dustjacket, 15x23 cm, 472 pages, several photos


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.

Alex Boraine was born in Cape Town in 1931. He was appointed President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in 1970, and was elected to Parliament as an MP for the Progressive Party in 1974. In 1986 he resigned from Parliament and co-founded the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa (IDASA), a non-governmental organisation with the aim of working towards negotiation politics.

After the first democratic election in 1994 he founded Justice in Transition, an organisation whose primary purpose was to help South Africa address the legacy of the apartheid past; where he did significant groundwork for establishing a truth commission in SA. In 1995 Boraine was appointed deputy chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by President Nelson Mandela, under Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Since the TRC completed its work in 1998 he 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. Alex Boraine is currently visiting Professor of Law at New York University, and divides his time between New York and Cape Town.