Melanie Verwoerd

Melanie Verwoerd was uniquely placed to witness the progress of South Africa as it moved to the post apartheid ‘rainbow nation’. Having married into the family of the late South African prime minister Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, the “architect of apartheid”, she experienced huge opposition from her husband’s family and her peers when she became an ANC activist and then a MP in the new parliament. Post-Mandela’s election she worked on many aspects of the new government including the writing of the country’s constitution, before becoming South Africa’s ambassador to Ireland. Following her term as ambassador she became the Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, a position she held until July 2011. In Ireland, she has written for, amongst others, the Evening Herald and the Irish Daily Mail.

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