Justice Albie Sachs. Last week, the students and staff of Camps Bay High School had a very special guest at their special Freedom Day Assembly, Justice Albie Sachs.
Said Camps Bay High School Principal, Mr Louis Mostert, “We were deeply honoured to have Justice Albie Sachs. He was instrumental in the writing of the South African Constitution, at our special Freedom Day Assembly.”
In her introduction to Justice Albie Sachs, the Head of Culture, Ms Bronwyn Harvey, quoted the late Civil Rights Activist John Lewis who said: “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
As Harvey explained, “Justice Sachs is no stranger to good and necessary trouble. Justice has always been a core value for him. He was a central figure in key moments during the struggle for liberation during Apartheid. Justice Sachs was appointed to the first Constitutional Court of South Africa. He was the chief architect of South Africa’s post-Apartheid constitution.”
Freedom and democracy
Said Mostert, “Justice Albie Sachs’ moving talk recounted some of the moments in his life which has always been focused on freedom and democracy under the rule of law. He shared stories that our learners hear about in history class. Clearly he brought these important historic moments to life.”
Sachs explained how he became involved in the Anti-apartheid movement as a student and then young lawyer. He was practicing law in the same firm as Nelson Mandela. He was arrested under the government’s 90 day law.
This law allowed the government to detain political prisoners for 90 days without filing charges. He spent this time in solitary confinement and when he was released was immediately arrested again, without explanation, and returned to solitary confinement. Sachs also shared how he was released. He walked home to his beloved Clifton. This is where he had grown up and where he has lived most of his life. He then walked straight into the Ocean.
After his horrific ordeal, he exiled to England. He missed Africa, so moved to Mozambique after the revolution overthrew the Portuguese government. In 1988 Sachs was gravely injured by a car bomb. The bomb was planted by the South African security services. Doctors fought to save him but he lost his right arm and the sight in one eye.
Signed copy of preamble
Justice Albie Sachs handed over a signed copy of the preamble to the South African constitution as a gift to the school.
Said Mostert, “We will display this signed copy of the preamble in Pride of Place at the school. These words are just as important, if not more important, today, as they were when they were written over two decades ago.”
Also present at the Special Freedom Day Assembly were 2020 Head Prefect, Amava Mkuku and 2021 Head Prefect, Kiera Kresfelder. They performed a moving rendition of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. It uses words from Pan Africanist, Marcus Garvey’s 1937 speech. In it Garvey said, “None but ourselves can free our minds.”
Watch their performance here: https://fb.watch/cHy4CXXrmT/
Last year the Constitution Hill Trust, of which Justice Albie Sachs and his wife, Vanessa September are trustees, put out a call for the design of the 12th Chair: The People’s Chair in commemoration of 25 years of our Constitution.
Said, September, “It will represent the people’s power which has been so intrumental in promoting and defending our Constitution. The Constitutional Court has 11 Chairs for the 11 judges who serve as guardians of our Constitution. The 12th Chair will represent the people’s seat and their role too as guardians of the Constitution.”
100 Submissions have been shortlisted to 6 finalists. They are now calling on all people to vote for the Chair that will represent the people’s power. The winning design will be manufactured and find its home at Constitution Hill.
To vote, click on this link: https://wethepeople.constitutionhill.org.za/12th-chair
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