Across Boundaries

Across Boundaries

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Mamphela Ramphele
The Journey of a South African Woman Leader

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Paperback Edition
Publication Date: 10-01-1999

Foreword by Johnnetta B. Cole

"Survival," writes Mamphela Ramphele, "is a stronger force than the fear of offending others."

Born black and female in apartheid-ruled South Africa, Ramphele went on to become one of the most distinguished women on the African continent—a prominent activist, medical doctor, anthropologist, teacher, university leader, as well as a mother to two sons. Across Boundaries chronicles Ramphele's inspiring journey, and reveals the staggering personal losses that coexisted with her astonishing political and professional achievements. 

In addition to recounting the fascinating and often gripping events of her life, she describes the personal side of her experiences—her early struggles to maintain dignity and hope in a world that devalued both black people and women; her battles against despair, especially after the murder of her colleague and lover Steven Biko and the death of her third child in infancy; her mistakes and regrets, as well as her triumphs.

"What gives [this memoir] special power is not only the political freedom story, but her honesty about her failures and her fury and her survivor guilt. There’s deep commitment here, but not martyrdom… women everywhere will recognize her conflicts about her roles as mother, academic, political activist, lover, and friend.” —Booklist

"Across Boundaries is an autobiography that captures both a unique heart and a nation's history. No matter where or how each of us lives, Across Boundaries gives us a rare leader who teaches us to teach ourselves." —Gloria Steinem, author of My Life on the Road

"Stunningly moving and inspiring." —Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund

"Using adversity to advance the cause of freedom and justice, Mamphela Ramphele created an oasis of humanity and dignity in a wilderness of despair and oppression... This is [her] riveting testimony told in her inimitable way." —Archbishop Desmond Tutu

"Ramphele's life and work are illustrative of her indomitable spirit. She makes life better for all who know her and for many others as well." —Frank Thomas, President, Ford Foundation, 1982-1996