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Oct. 9, 2014 Volume 36, No. 7

Human rights activist who helped write South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution to lecture Monday

A film on the former justice will also be shown


Albie Sachs, a former South African judge who fought apartheid and helped draft the country’s post-apartheid constitution, will be part of several events Monday at the University of Missouri.

Sachs will give a lecture titled “Confessions of an Activist Judge” at 7:30 p.m. in Cornell Hall’s Bush Auditorium. A documentary on Sachs titled Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa will be shown at 3 p.m. in 7 Hulston Hall; following the screening, Sachs and the film’s director, Abby Ginsberg, will answer questions.

The events are free and open to the public.

The lecture is part of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program, which brings prominent scholars to MU to participate in academic programs, collaborate in research and meet the campus community.

As a young lawyer, Sachs was a high-profile activist in South Africa. In 1988 he paid a price for it when a bomb exploded in his car. The mayhem resulted in Sachs losing his right arm and sight in his right eye.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela appointed Sachs to the Constitutional Court, similar to America’s Supreme Court. In 1995, the justice wrote the court opinion that legalized same-sex marriage in South Africa.

Sachs is a regular lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, one of MU’s sister learning institutions. He has also donated much of his art collection and private legal papers to Western Cape, said Rodney J. Uphoff, a professor at MU’s School of Law.

This year, Sachs received the Tang Prize, which recognizes exceptional scholars in fields that include law.