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Zubeida Jaffer - 10/9/18

Who We Are

Who We Are

Zubeida Jaffer is a veteran South African journalist. She has won several awards for her work both locally and internationally. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University where she had to obtain government permission to study because she was not white. Her work as a journalist led to her detention under Section Six of the Terrorism Act six months after she started her first job. This catapulted her into the resistance movement for the next ten years.

Prior to the country's first democratic elections in 1994, she was selected as one of seven media professionals in the country to oversee the relationship between the media and political parties during the election. A year later, Nelson Mandela raised a bursary for her to complete her MSC in Journalism at Columbia University. She returned to the country after a year in New York to become one of the most senior female bureau chiefs at a chain of 14 newspapers and covered the Mandela years.

She has recently retired from her job at the University of Free State but not from her writing. She runs two websites, one her own, and the other, She is also the author of three books, the latest regarding Charlotte Maxeke, South Africa’s first black female graduate. After her talk, she plans to visit Wilberforce University in Ohio where Mrs. Maxeke graduated in 1901.

"In Hope of Peace, Not War"

In 1980, when Zubeida Jaffer was 22 years-old and working as a journalist in Cape Town, she received a message from Nelson Mandela. He urged her to keep writing, saying her stories in the morning paper were giving many prisoners hope. He had also become aware that she had been detained and tortured six months after she started her first job and was faced with considerable adversity. She met him the day after his release ten years later in 1990 and was fortunate to meet with him on several occasions over the years.

She will share parts of her life story in order to illustrate the challenges her country has faced and currently faces to secure the greater peace that Nelson Mandela and many others have worked for. Healing three centuries of trauma is certainly not a task for the faint-hearted. She will provide some insights into the kinds of choices that many of her compatriots have had to make in an increasingly uncertain world context that appears threatening.

Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
6:00-7:30 p.m.