Justice Albie Sachs was the first Richard & Ann Silver Pozen Visiting Professor in Human Rights at the University of Chicago. He taught a five-week course in the College and presented this public lecture series, based on his new book, Reason and Passion: The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law, Oxford University Press, 2009.
Justice Sachs' career in human rights activism started at the age of seventeen, when as a law student in Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. The bulk of his work at the Cape Bar involved defending people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. After going into exile in 1966, he spent eleven years in England and eleven years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. 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 he helped draft the ANC's Code of Conduct and statutes. 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, from which he retired this fall.
Recorded Wednesday, February 03, 2010 at University of Chicago - Social Science Research Building, Room 122.