The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law

Date & time

6–7pm Friday 17 September 2010


Law Theatre, ANU College of Law, Building 5, Fellows Rd, The Australian National University


The Hon Albie Sachs


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


For over 50 years Albie Sachs has been one of South Africa’s leading human rights lawyers and campaigners. As a young barrister he defended people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws, many facing the death sentence. He himself was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement and eventually placed in solitary confi nement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention. He spent 22 years in exile, studying and teaching law in England and in Mozambique. In 1988 he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South 

African security agents, losing an arm and the sight of an eye. During the 1980s Albie Sachs worked closely with Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC in exile, and helped draft the ANC’s Code of Conduct and statutes. He devoted himself to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa and in 1990 he returned home to be a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC. He took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy and in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court. He retired from the Court in October 2009.

His books include Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter, Justice in South Africa and The Free Diary of Albie Sachs.


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