About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Boraine, Alexander Lionel (Alex)

Click here for list of interviews

Boraine was born in 1931, educated in Cape Town, South Africa, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, a Master of Arts degree from Oxford University in England and a PhD in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies at Drew University Graduate School, USA.

He was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1956 and in 1970 was elected as the youngest-ever President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. He worked as an Employment Practices Consultant for the Anglo American Corporation in South Africa before standing in a marginal seat for the opposition Progressive Party in 1974, which he won by 34 votes. He was re-elected in 1977 and 1981 with increased majorities and was appointed Chairman of the Federal Council of the Progressive Party in 1980 before resigning as a Member of Parliament in 1986.

Together with Dr van Zyl Slabbert, the former Leader of the Opposition, Boraine formed the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) but resigned in 1994 to start Justice in Transition, a non-governmental organisation whose express objective was to facilitate South Africans to deal with the history and effects of the apartheid years. In 1996 he was appointed by President Mandela as Vice Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa in which he played a pivotal role in the healing process of the country.

He was elected Fellow of the Centre for International Affairs at Harvard University as well as Mansfield College, Oxford University. Boraine also holds an Honorary Doctorate from Drew University and Lafayette College in the USA. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Rhodes University and was awarded the Harvard Peace Prize and Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International.

Boraine served as Visiting Professor to the University of Cape Town and New York University in 1998, and was appointed the Tom Sealy Lecturer at Texas Law School in 1998. He is currently Professor of Law at New York University Justice in Transition Program.

Dr. Boraine is a long time advocate of social justice, both in his native South Africa, and around the world.

He is married with four children and four grandchildren.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.