Writer, journalist and academic Douglas Foster has said he is hooked on the post-liberation story of South Africa.
At a Crain Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 25, Foster, author of “After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid Africa,” will discuss that story and the genesis of his book in words, photographs and audio clips at Northwestern University.
Foster’s free and public presentation begins at 4 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. It is co-sponsored by the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and Northwestern’s Program of African Studies.
An associate professor at Medill who oversees the school’s South African Journalism Residency Program, Foster had early and unprecedented access to current South African President Jacob Zuma and members of Nelson Mandela’s family. He began traveling regularly to South Africa in 2004, a full decade after Mandela’s election to the presidency, and lived in the country for a year.
His newly published book draws on seven years of interviews he conducted with South Africa’s political leadership and emerging black elite as well as with younger South Africans born after the country’s political liberation. The latter include an HIV-infected teenager living outside the nation’s capital and a homeless orphan in Cape Town.
Foster’s remarks will reflect on this generation of younger South Africans and on journalism’s uses and constraints in reporting on the developing world. Like his book, they will cut across lines of nation, ethnicity, gender, language, culture and age.
Foster has written about South Africa for The Atlantic, Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. He is the winner of awards for investigative reporting on product safety from Investigative Reporters and Editors, and received a local Emmy for a television documentary about medical malpractice. As former editor of Mother Jones, he was a finalist for the Association of Magazine Editor’s National Magazine Award in Investigative Reporting.
The Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series regularly brings journalists, newsmakers and others to Northwestern’s Evanston campus for discussions of current events and the news business. The lectures are made possible by a gift from Medill alumnus Rance Crain and his wife, Merrilee, and are named in honor of Crain’s parents, the founders of Crain Communications.