Nelson Mandela biographer to lecture at Luther

Charlene Smith to present guest lectures Oct. 15-16 

Authorized biographer for Nelson Mandela, Charlene Smith will present a series of lectures on the Luther College campus Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 15-16. All lectures will take place in Valders Hall of Science Room 206, and are open to the public with no charge for admission.

An experienced trauma counselor for HIV and AIDS, and gender violence, Smith's first lecture, "Every 26 Seconds a Woman is Raped: Last Thursday was my Turn," will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15. Her chilling account relays a very personal message about not only the horrors of being raped, but the mental and monetary challenges that follow the crime.

On Thursday, Oct. 16, the South African-born writer and writing coach will present three lectures:

  • "Nobel Peace Prize Winners I Have Known: How Ordinary People Changed the World" at 12:45 p.m.
  • "Human Rights in the US and South Africa" at 2:30 p.m.
  • "Making Your Enemy Your Friend: Changing the World Nelson Mandela-Style" at
    7:30 p.m.

Smith was part of the underground resistance against apartheid, and had a 23-year friendship with Nelson Mandela. She was instrumental in influencing the Centers for Disease Control to research a protocol for "Post-Exposure Prophylaxis after Sexual Assault" which was released in 2004. The protocol has prevented hundreds of thousands of people raped from contracting HIV. Smith has received multiple awards for her writing, journalism and work around gender violence and HIV and AIDS.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,500, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website:

Charlene Smith, authorized biographer for Nelson Mandela