South African human rights activist Kumi Naidoo will deliver the fifth Mary Robinson International Human Rights lecture in Ballina this Friday.

Kumi Naidoo is a former general secretary of Amnesty International and was the first African head of Greenpeace.

His lifelong work as a social justice campaigner was sparked by his experiences as a young man of South Africa's notorious apartheid regime.

His anti-apartheid activities led to multiple arrests and his ultimate exile in England, where he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University, earning a PhD in political sociology.

Kumi travels to Ballina this Friday to deliver his lecture at the Ballina Arts Centre at 2pm.

The lecture will be followed by a discussion between Mr Naidoo and Ireland's former President Mary Robinson, facilitated by journalist Olivia O'Leary.

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