Working with Mandela: The Constitutional Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa

by Phillip Lecky, Class of 2015

The William and Mary Law School, through the International Law Society (ILS) in partnership with the Black Law Student Association (BLSA), was honored to welcome Justice Albert “Albie” Sachs of South Africa on March 31, 2014 for a talk and book-signing. Born in South Africa in 1935 of Lithuanian parents, Justice Sachs was instrumental in fighting against the oppressive white-dominated rule in South Africa. Due to the large numbers of people interested in hearing Justice Sachs speak, his talk had to be relocated to a larger room, and still there was standing room only! His talk was entitled Working with Mandela: The Constitutional Process in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

albie sachs

As Justice Sachs began to speak, it was clear that all in the audience were intently focused on what he had to say for he had an uncanny ability of keeping people hanging on his every word. Whether he was speaking about how he first became involved in the fight against oppression as a juvenile; his memories of the trial which caused Nelson Mandela to be imprisoned for almost three decades; how he lost part of one arm and sight in one eye as a result of a bomb; his activity in regards to crafting a new Constitution in which all South Africans would be treated equally; or his role on the Constitutional Court, his energy and passion for the causes he stood for was more than evident.  What a man! What a legend! I, and, I think it is safe to say, the rest of the William & Mary community collectively thanks Justice Sachs for gracing us with his presence and all that he did to make this world a better place!

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