Alex Boraine (in memoriam)

The late Dr. Alex Boraine, a key architect of the South African transition, served as IFIT’s inaugural Board chair. He was born in Cape Town, and passed away there as well, in 2018. 

Dr. Boraine founded the International Center for Transitional Justice and served as its president for three years (2001-2004) before returning to South Africa to take over as its chairperson. From 1998 through early 2001, he served as a Professor of Law at New York University and as director of the New York University Law School’s Justice in Transition program.

In 1995, Dr. Boraine was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to be Deputy Chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, serving under Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He held this post until 1998.

From 1986 to 1995, Dr. Boraine headed two South African nonprofit organisations concerned with ending apartheid and addressing its legacy. He was a member of the South African Parliament from 1974 to 1986 and served as President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa from 1970 to 1972, having been ordained as a Methodist minister in 1956.

Dr. Boraine was the author of five books including A Country Unmasked, A Life in Transition, and most recently, What’s Gone Wrong? South Africa on the Brink of Failed Statehood (NYU Press, 2014). In 2000, he was awarded the President’s Medal for Human Rights in Italy. In 2014, he received the Order of the Baobab from the Office of the Presidency of South Africa. 

A global fellowship has been created in Dr. Boraine’s name. The current holder is Barney Afako.