Albie Sachs on Nelson Mandela

Albie Sachs, a judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994 to 2009 and author of The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter was appointed judge by Nelson Mandela in 1994. In an article in today’s The Independent following Mandela’s death yesterday, Sachs wrote:

“One of Mandela’s great accomplishments during the years of his Presidency was to link up the ordinary details of life with the great events of our history, and to do so with a light and intensely human touch.”

In The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter Albie Sachs described his own part in South Africa’s transformation, and how he worked alongside Mandela to create a new constitution for South Africa. He worked with Mandela on a new Bill of Rights in the post-apartheid years which placed non-sexism on a par with non-racialism as a foundation feature of the new constitution.

In a speech at Constitution Hill, at the Old Fort Prison, now the seat of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Sachs paid tribute to the President Nelson Mandela:

“All of us here are mortal,” I realised that this was not too tactful a statement, “except for the President, who will live to be two hundred years old.”

It turns out that Albie Sachs was correct the first time: even Nelson Mandela was mortal. He passed away aged 95, but we can be sure that his legacy will live on – for two hundred years, and more.

Read Albie Sachs’ full tribute to Nelson Mandela in The Independent, or learn more about his involvement with Mandela in South Africa’s post-apartheid transformation in The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter.


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