2009-02-06

XCO EVENTS: 090128 Albie Sachs - JUST ART? ...

Wednesday, January 28

Albie Sachs, Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa, “JUST ART?: The
Place of Art in Rendering Justice"

Justice Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court of South Africa will speak
about the thinking behind the country’s new Constitutional Court building,
meant “...to inspire judges and ordinary people alike in our collective
pursuit of justice.”

Justice Sachs’s career in human rights activism started at the age of
seventeen, when as a second year law student at the University of Cape Town, he
took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. He started practice as an
advocate at the Cape Bar aged 21. The bulk of his work involved defending
people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. Many faced
the death sentence. He himself was raided by the security police, subjected to
banning orders restricting his movement and eventually placed in solitary
confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention. In 1966 he
went into exile.

After spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England he worked for
a further 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
working closely with Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC in exile, he helped draft
the organization's Code of Conduct, as well as its statutes. After recovering
from the bomb he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic
Constitution for South Africa.

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. In addition to his work on
the Court, he has traveled to many countries sharing South African experience
in healing divided societies. He has also been engaged in the sphere of art and
architecture, and played an active role in the development of the
Constitutional Court building and its art collection on the site of the Old
Fort Prison in Johannesburg.

His talk will be moderated by Prof. Catherine Admay, Public Policy Studies &
Duke Center for International Development and the Concilium on Southern Africa

Sponsored by the Concilium on Southern Africa and co-sponsored by: The
Provost’s Common Fund, Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs,
the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, the Duke Center for
International Development, the Duke University Program on History, Public
Policy and Social Change, the Duke Human Rights Center, Duke Law School, the
Franklin Humanities Institute, the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Nasher
Museum of Art.

5.00-6.30 p.m.
Nasher Museum of Art
Free and open to the public
reception to follow
parking available at the Nasher lot, map at http://nasher.duke.edu/visitus.php.


Justice Sachs will be available after the talk to sign copies of the two volume
"Art and Justice: The Art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa" and
"Light on a Hill: Building the Constitutional Court of South Africa" after the
talk.

Both books are currently available in the Nasher Museum of Art bookstore and
the bookstore will be open on the evening of the event.

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