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Law Graduates Encouraged to Uphold the Values of the Constitution

April 22, 2015

Justice Albie Sachs (centre) with Professors Managay Reddi (L) and Cheryl Potgieter.Justice Albie Sachs (centre) with Professors Managay Reddi (L) and Cheryl Potgieter.

Renowned human rights activist, Justice Albie Sachs encouraged young people to use passion and reasoning to bring about transformation in their societies. Sachs shared these words of wisdom with Law graduates during his address at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Sachs, whose dedication to the struggle against apartheid through his work as a lawyer and activist led to him being imprisoned, tortured and exiled reminded graduates that iconic leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Biko, Walter Sisulu, Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela were able to achieve great things because they had soul, humility and embraced the spirit of Ubuntu.

‘If you have passion without reason you can end up in a dark place that is why I am dismayed about the politics that is tearing this country apart. Our constitution should not only be reduced to Mandela and FW De Klerk striking a deal. There was a lot of fighting involved, a lot of African people lost their lives because they gave us shelter and every one worked as a team to bring about the freedom we are enjoying today,’ said Sachs.

Sachs' passion to inspire graduates to continually strive to bring about transformation wherever they are saw him echo the same sentiments during his address titled: “Is this the country we fought for?” at the 13th Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Memorial Lecture held at the UKZN School the night before the Graduation ceremony.

Sachs’ emotionally charged and thought provoking address also condemned the violent xenophobic attacks currently happening in South Africa.

Sachs reminded the audience that African countries opened their hearts and homes to South Africans during the struggle therefore foreign nationals also have a right to call South Africa home.

‘The people of African countries died because they were giving us a place to stay even though they knew they would be killed. Mozambicans died due to a car bomb meant to kill me and now we are chasing them away. We live in a country that gives us enormous hope hence we have a bill of rights that protects everyone because we are human beings. Yes, this is the country we fought for, now we need to use our constitution to create a society that we envisioned,’ said Sachs.

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