Speaker - Albie Sachs

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Albie Sachs became involved in human rights activism as a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town, when he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. Three years later, he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was adopted.

As an advocate at the Cape Bar, Sachs defended people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. Many faced the death sentence. He himself was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement, and eventually placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention.

In 1966 he went into exile. After spending 11 years studying and teaching law in England, he worked for a further 11 years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. In 1988 he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car by South African security agents, losing an arm and his sight in one eye.

During the 1980s, working closely with Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC in exile, he helped draft the organization's Code of Conduct, as well as its statutes. After recovering from the bomb attack, he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic constitution for South Africa.

In 1990 he returned home, and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC, took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court.

In addition to his work on the court, he has traveled to many countries, sharing South African experience in healing divided societies.

1 Program

Albie Sachs: The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law

01.21.10 | 01:27:08 min | 1 comment