Interview with Albie Sachs

Every year the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) organizes the Venice School of Human Rights. Born in 2010 with the goal of studying today’s challenges in the field of human rights, the School combines theory and practice and its faculty involves both academics and practitioners.

One of the keynote speakers of the Venice School 2015 was Justice Albie Sachs who played a prominent part in the struggle for justice in South Africa. He was detained in solitary confinement, tortured by sleep deprivation and eventually blown up by a car bomb which cost him his right arm and the sight of an eye. His experiences provoked an outpouring of creative thought on the role of law as a protector of human dignity in the modern world, and a lifelong commitment to seeing a new era of justice established in South Africa. After playing an important part in drafting South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution, he was appointed by Nelson Mandela to be a member of the country’s first Constitutional Court (1994-2009). Over the course of his fifteen year term on the Court he has grappled with the major issues confronting modern South Africa, and the challenges posed to the fledgling democracy as it sought to overcome the injustices of the apartheid regime.

Below is an interview recorded by EIUC where he shares his thoughts and vision for the past, current and future South Africa as well as some inspirational words for all the human rights defenders out there!

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