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History of LSE and Africa

LSE has from its very foundation in 1895 been deeply involved with Africa and African issues. Established just four years before the outbreak of the Boer War, the School was rapidly caught up in the debates of the time, with many taking a strongly anti-colonial line. In the inter-war period scholars such as Professors Charles Seligman and E A Westermarck found in Africa a focus for their path-breaking field work in anthropology.

For many South Africans, LSE also meant the opportunity for learning that apartheid denied them in their own country.

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LSE, as part of the University of London, was in the vanguard of the great army of men and women across the world who responded to the call to isolate the apartheid regime. They insisted that human rights are the rights of all people everywhere. I feel greatly honoured to have an honorary degree from the University of London. Today brings an opportunity to thank LSE in person and with all humility for the part it played in that tribute to the South African people for their achievement in turning from conflict to the peaceful pursuit of a better life for all.

For many South Africans, LSE also meant the opportunity for learning that apartheid denied them in their own country. Those who were students are now working in all sectors of our society, leaders of a nation, leading a bright and common future. We continue to draw upon you for training and knowledge in fields that are critical to the development of our country. May your practical solidarity and our partnership long continue. Your invitation to me to reflect with you on the challenges facing Africa speaks of your continuing commitment to our shared goals and I thank you most sincerely.

Nelson Mandela speaking at LSE, 2000

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