9 December 2013

South Africa: Mandela's New York City Moment, and How It Changed One American's Life Forever

Photo: GCIS
People leaving flowers and messages of support for Former President Nelson Mandela at Medi-Clinic in Pretoria.


Loren Braithwaite Kabosha was a Columbia University law school student on the verge of taking the New York bar exam when she was swept up in the excitement of Nelson Mandela's first trip to the United States, back in 1990. It changed her life forever.

J. BROOKS SPECTOR spoke with her in Johannesburg, just a few days after Nelson Mandela had passed away.

When Nelson Mandela left Victor Verster Prison in 1990, Loren Braithwaite Kabosha was still in law school. She had been active in protests against Apartheid, and, indeed, in student societies that led campaigns to draw connections between the circumstances of African Americans - and the peoples of the Caribbean and Africa.

Loren remembers that even before law school, while she was still an undergraduate at Harvard University in the 1970s, she had been upbraided by a university administrator because she was spending too much time on a committee that was pressing for her university's disinvestment from companies operating in South Africa - and not enough time on her studies.

Then, amidst the growing domestic and international pressure to bring an end to Apartheid by 1989, while she was in her final year of law school, she met...

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