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Apartheid protester to speak in Hempstead

A doctor, author and former protester of apartheid in South Africa will be the guest speaker at a Black History Month event at 7 p.m. Saturday at the African American Museum.

The speech, an effort to inspire and inform youth during Black History Month, will be delivered by guest speaker Dr. Arthur N. Mcunu as part of the Dr. Leroy L. Ramsey Lecture Series at the museum, 110 N. Franklin St., Hempstead.

Mcunu, whose native language is Zulu, is the author of “Zulu Chest Cutter: From the Slums of Soweto to Success in America.” Published in 2011, the book charts Mcunu’s experience growing up poor in Soweto, South Africa, during the system of racial segregation known as apartheid.

At 13, Mcunu participated in the Soweto Uprising of 1976, a rebellion against apartheid. He continued protesting oppression and was present at the massacre at the University of Zululand in 1983, narrowly escaping death.

He was rescued from an unknown fate when Maurice Perkins, a member of 100 Black Men of Long Island, organized a project to bring young South Africans to the United States in the 1980s to be educated.

Perkins arranged for Mcunu to attend Xavier University in Louisiana, where he received a bachelor’s degree. He later attended medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he is now the director of cardiac and thoracic surgery at Howard University Hospital.

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