A Common Purpose is a documentary by Mitzi Goldman that traces the notorious death penalty trial of the ‘Upington 25’ – 25 black defendants accused of murder – during the most violent period of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The course of the trial reveals one of legal history’s most significant cases on the death penalty and leads to the assassination of one lawyer and the exile of the young solicitor Andrea Durbach. This documentary follows Andrea’s return to South Africa to meet her clients 18 years after the trial and examines how the trial and the transition to a democratic South Africa has since shaped their lives. It is an inspirational story of persistence and personal courage, the power of the belief in the rule of law and the costs and triumphs of seeking justice in an unjust political and legal system.
Andrea Durbach is the Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre and a Professor of Law at UNSW. Born and educated in South Africa, she practised as a political trial lawyer and human rights advocate, representing victims and opponents of apartheid laws. She is a prominent public interest lawyer and was director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre for 7 years.
This event will include a screening of A Common Purpose followed by a Q&A with Professor Andrea Durbach.