In the news: Albie Sachs

February 14, 2003

Albie Sachs, the South African judge who refused the English cricketers' initial appeal to have their world cup match moved from Zimbabwe, is no stranger to terror. The long-time member of the African National Congress lost an eye and an arm in an assassination attempt by Boss, the South African Bureau of State Security, in 1988.

On Wednesday, he returned to Southampton University, where he lectured in law in 1970-77, to begin a UK lecture tour that will cover topics such as South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, devolution and capital punishment.

Judge Sachs, 68, was born in Johannesburg. He got a degree in law at the University of Cape Town in 1957. In the 1960s, he was imprisoned without trial for 180 days. He went into exile in 1966 and completed a PhD at Sussex University before going on to lecture at Southampton.

In 1977, he became professor of law at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. After the assassination attempt, he came to London to set up the South Africa Constitution Centre. He and the centre moved to the University of the Western Cape after apartheid's fall.

Judge Sachs, who was active in negotiations for a new constitution in South Africa, is one of three professors of law who form part of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. His book The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter , which details his recovery from the assassination attempt and his road to the constitutional court, is being made into a film.

Judge Sachs has said of his life: "It's very satisfying to know that the things that you put yourself on the line for, the beliefs that you had, the marginalisation that you were subjected to, that in fact that call was right."

Judge Sachs' lecture tour continues in Edinburgh on Monday, Queen's University, Belfast, next Wednesday, Cambridge on February 25 and the London School of Economics on February .

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