James A. Joseph is Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Public Policy at Duke University. Joseph served as the United States Ambassador to South Africa from 1996 to 2000, and as the Under Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior from 1977 to 1981. He was the President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, Vice President of the Cummins Engine Company, and served as Chaplain of the Claremont Colleges. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Order of Good Hope, South Africa’s highest award to a citizen of a foreign country. Joseph is also the author of
The 1990s: Moral Lessons from South Africa
This chapter describes the author’s transformation from consummate activist to the lead American diplomat in South Africa. It had been a long journey for Nelson Mandela, who went from prison to president, but it was no small step for Joseph, who went from anti-apartheid “trouble maker,” once refused a visa, to the personal representative of the president of the United States as the American ambassador. He had been standing outside of Parliament with a Free Mandela sign when F. W. de Klerk announced that Mandela was set free, but he had a front-row seat as Nelson Mandela led the reconciliation efforts that surprised the world. There is also an examination of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the American role in helping to build a new South Africa.