Exposing the plight of black South Africans under apartheid, exiled South African politician and union leader Thozamile Botha told a Vassar audience, "We are fighting for our rights, for the return of our land, which was taken from us by force."  "One can see," said The Miscellany News, "the anger in his eyes, and feel the frustration in his voice.  When he speaks, his words sting sharply."

A leader of the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (PEBCO), and affiliate of the banned United Democratic Front, Botha broke his ban in May 1980 and escaped to Lesotho. With the lifting on the ban on the African National Congress in 1990, Botha returned to South Africa, where he was elected to head the ANC’s Department of Local and Regional Government.