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Children of anti-apartheid, American activists to speak (Released: 1/25/00)

by Richard Veillux, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut is hosting an international human rights conference featuring the children of civil rights leaders from the United States and South Africa on Thursday, Feb. 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The conference, Building Upon Legacies: Children of Human Rights Struggles, features nearly a dozen speakers, including Her Excellency Sheila Sisulu, South African Ambassador to the U.S, and The Honorable Dumisa Ntsebeza, chief investigator and judge of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They will be joined by others who experienced the horrors of apartheid, either personally or through the eyes of their parents, including Nkosinathi Biko, son of Steve Biko, the slain South African student leader; Meredith Carlson Daly, daughter of Joel Carlson, the lead defense attorney for Winnie Mandela and other black South Africans during the apartheid era; Gillian Slovo, the daughter of Ruth First, an intellectual and anti-apartheid activist who was slain during the struggle, and Joe Slovo, an anti-apartheid activist and Minister of Housing in Nelson Mandela's government; Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and Somadoda Fikeni, an anti-apartheid activist who was detained six times during the apartheid era.

The children of three American civil rights activists also will join the discussion, allowing the panelists to compare the never-ending battle for civil and human rights in the two nations. Paul Robeson Jr., son of the late activist-entertainer Paul Robeson; Paula Young Shelton, daughter of civil rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young; and Michael Brown, son of the late Commerce Secretary and civil rights activist Ron Brown, round out the slate of panelists.

Closing the program will be Sanford Cloud Jr., president of the National Conference for Community and Justice. The conferenc e is sponsored by the University of Connecticut-African National Congress Partnership, which also is bringing copies of ANC archival materials to UConn, sponsoring an oral history of South African civil rights leaders and developing academic programs in comparative civil rights.

The conference is open to the public and will be held in the ballroom of Lewis B. Rome Commons, located in UConn's South Campus. To register for the event, which costs $15 -- $25 with lunch -- call 860-486-0647 or 860-486-1001.