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Reflecting on the Anti-Apartheid Movement: South African and U.S. Perspectives

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Reflecting on the Anti-Apartheid Movement: South African and U.S. Perspectives

Justice Albie Sachs


Justice Albie Sachs is the first Richard & Ann Silver Pozen Visiting Professor in Human Rights at the University of Chicago, teaching a course and presenting a public lecture series based on his book Reason and Passion: The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law, Oxford University Press, 2009. 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. 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.

Prexy Nesbitt is an educator, activist and scholar. Prexy grew up in a Chicago family engaged in teaching, human rights struggles and union organizing. His family were teachers, lawyers and doctors who all believed in service and commitment. He began organizing his fellow undergrads at Antioch College in the 1960s where students campaigned to integrate a local barbershop which refused to cut black hair. In 1967, he co-founded the Antioch Committee for a Free South Africa to get the College to divest. In the 1970s he coordinated the Bank Withdrawl Campaign of the American Committee on Africa in New York and then worked in Geneva for the World Council of Churches in charge of grant-making in the Program to Combat Racism. From the 1980s onward, Prexy has been based in Chicago where he has continued his activism in support of the people of Southern Africa, worked for labor unions, for the late Mayor Harold Washington, for the MacArthur Foundation, and as a teacher. He leads tours of Southern African for a wide variety of groups and institutions. Click here for more information on the tours and on Prexy Nesbitt.

The program is moderated by Evalyn Tennant, Associate Director of the Center for International Studies.


Recorded Monday, January 18, 2010 at University of Chicago-Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

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