Laura Jean Levetan was born in Cape Town in 1955, the third child of Lionel and Marie Levetan. Their household was steeped in Anti-apartheid politics and Laura met many activists and politicians during her childhood. She was schooled in Muizenberg and Newlands and matriculated at Sans Souci Girls High in 1973.
She was a founding member of the schools organisation National Youth Action (NYA) and was active in the Municipal Action Committee (MAC) and the Young Progressives (YP) during high school. She then spent a year in the United States as an exchange student and returned to South Africa in 1975 to commence a B.A./B.Sc. degree at the University of Cape Town.
At UCT she became active in NUS AS programs and was elected to the UCT SRC in 1976 where she was NUSAS Projects Officer. She was a founding member of Students for Social Democracy (SSD) and was active in student campaigns and involvement associated with the Cape Flats 'squatter' issues, the transition to independence in Namibia, and the political changes and challenges arising out of the Sow eto uprising from 1976. In 1977 she was re-elected to the UCT SRC and became External Vice-President and a member of the NUSAS National Council.
Laura was banned under the Internal Security Act in 1978, days before the commencement of the NUSAS National Congress in Cape Town. She was confined to the Magisterial Districts of the Cape and Wynberg. In 1982 she joined the United Women's Organisation and the Koeberg Alert campaign and returned to post-graduate study at UCT.
She subsequently moved to Johannesburg and was active in the Five Freedoms Forum. She now lives in Australia where she is active in environmental politics and is a member of the Australian Labour Party.