The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: April 9, 2001

South African Judge, freedom fighter Albie Sachs at UI April 12-14

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- South African Constitutional Court Judge Albert (Albie) Louis Sachs, called a freedom fighter by the African National Congress for his push for human rights in South Africa, will visit the University of Iowa April 12-14. Included among his various campus appearances is an April 14 keynote address at the UI College of Law's annual dinner of the International Law Society, and the student-edited journal, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems.

Adrien K. Wing, international law professor and former ANC constitutional advisor, considers Sachs a founding father of a new democratic constitution for South Africa. Sachs, regard led by some as one of the white heroes of South African history, lost an arm and an eye in a 1988 car bomb attack in Mozambique while working as a law professor and advisor to that city's government.

"Only one kind of vengeance can assuage the loss of my arm," Sachs said in a 2000 radio interview for the "Connection." That vengeance, he said, "is an historical one. Victory for what we've been fighting for." Sach's penned his recovery from the assassination attempt by South African security forces in a memoir, "Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter," published last year. While at the UI, Sachs will sign copies of his book at all appearances.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela appointed Sachs to the court in 1994, an appointment that follows Sach's storied academic and professional career, which began with his 1950s student involvement in the ANC and a bachelor's and a law degree from the University of Capetown.

Based on his detention by South Africa security police, Sachs wrote "The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs," which was brought to the stage by The Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1966, he went into exile in England where he earned a doctorate at the University of Sussex in 1971 and taught at the University of Southampton from 1970 to 1977. He emerged from exile in 1992, returning to South Africa. As founding director of the South African Constitution Studies Center he moved the center to the University of the Western Cape from its original home, the University of London.

Sach's schedule at the UI:

Friday, April 13 - 10 a.m. interview on "Iowa Talks," WSUI-AM 910 radio.

11:15 a.m.- 12:15 p.m., Speaks to Wing's constitutional law class on his experiences as constitutional founder, the framers' intent, and judicial review. Room 125, Boyd Law Building.

12:40-1:40 p.m., Address UI law faculty on "Legal Developments in South Africa." Fourth Floor Faculty Lounge, Boyd Law Building.

2:30-4:30 p.m., Speaks at the African Studies Spring Colloquium on Modernity. "Modernity and the South African Constitution. International Center lounge. Sponsored by African Studies and the UI Center for Human Rights.

6-8 p.m., Keynote speaker, annual dinner of the International Law Society and Journal on Transnational Law Contemporary Problems. Sheraton Hotel.