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South African Professor Discusses His Role in Secret Talks That Led to Mandela's 1990 Release, Oct. 30

October 17, 2013
Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

Willie Esterhuyse, a life-long professor of philosophy and later business ethics from South Africa who played a crucial role in the closed-door negotiations that led to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990, thus leading to the end of that country's system of racial segregation called "apartheid," will inaugurate the new University of Baltimore College of Public Affairs Speaker Series on Wednesday, Oct. 30. "Talking to the Enemy: The South African Case Study" is free and open to the public, and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Lucy and Vernon Wright Theater in the UB Student Center, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave.

Esterhuyse, who is now retired from his teaching position at the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Cape Town, is the author of Endgame: Secret Talks and the End of Apartheid. The 2012 book offers an insider's perspective on the end of the apartheid era, which involved highly confidential talks held in England, a series of moves by both parties affecting the fate of the then-imprisoned Mandela, and various covert operations by the nation's secret police, who feared widespread violence if apartheid were to continue. Esterhuyse argues that it was wise to keep the talks secret, given the high stakes for all parties and the potential for dissonance and confusion for politicians saying one thing in public, and another in private.

"Important, revealing, and a good read too," political journalist Jan-Jan Joubert says of Endgame.

"Anyone who wants to understand how we got to where we are, should read this," says Ruda Landman, former Carte Blanche television journalist.

The evening will begin with excerpts from a film about these events, also called Endgame, with William Hurt portraying Esterhuyse. It will be followed with a talk by the author, plus time for questions and discussion about the contemporary South Africa.

This event, jointly hosted by the College of Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences' Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics, marks the beginning of the College of Public Affairs' Speaker Series. Future events in the series will be announced in the coming weeks.

To attend this event, fill out the R.S.V.P. More information about this event is available by sending an email to

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.


Last Published 6/9/16