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Mandela’s Role In Bringing Boston-Based City Year To South Africa

Daylene Van Buuren, executive director of City Year South Africa, in the WBUR studios. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Daylene Van Buuren, executive director of City Year South Africa, at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

BOSTON — A service organization founded in Boston is feeling a special sense of mourning over Nelson Mandela’s death.

Thirteen years after the 1988 creation of City Year, Mandela was instrumental in opening the group’s first international branch — in South Africa.

The new executive director of City Year South Africa, Daylene Van Buuren, never met Mandela but says he’s always been a central figure in her life. Van Buuren happened to be in Boston for work this week so was here when Mandela died. She spoke with WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer Friday.

In 2001, Nelson Mandela invited President Bill Clinton, City Year founder Alan Khazei and City Year staff members from Boston to South Africa to meet. The meeting led to the creation of City Year South Africa, taking the organization international. (Courtesy)

In 2001, Nelson Mandela invited President Bill Clinton, City Year founder Alan Khazei and City Year staff members from Boston to South Africa to meet. The meeting led to the creation of City Year South Africa, taking the organization international. (Courtesy)

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