This documentary tells the story of Albie Sachs’ life from the 17 year old activist in Cape Town, to the anti-apartheid lawyer who went into exile as a member of the ANC. He endured torture, solitary confinement in prison, and lost an arm and an eye as a result of a car bomb in Maputo. Justice Sachs was the originator and driving force behind our country’s Bill of Rights and our constitution, which is recognized as one of the best in the world.
At the movie premier which we attended at the brand new Soweto Theatre in Jabulani on Monday 7 March 2016, our patron, Justice Sachs delighted the girls with his common touch and personal anecdotes, singing the songs which kept him sane in prison and reflecting on the picnics the exiles would share in the Maputo cemetery, where they would discuss who would be buried there next. Both the documentary and his beautifully articulated responses to the pupils’ questions highlighted the sacrifices he and his colleagues made for our democracy, as well as their commitment to the common good. In response to a question on retribution against the security policeman who planted the bomb, which injured him and turned his life upside down, he commented “We knew that if we took revenge, we were as bad as they were.”
One of our Grade 8 scholars, Basetsana Mfono asked, “Given all that you’ve gone through, what you see happening in our country today – is this what you fought for?” to which Sachs replied: “This is the country we fought for, but not the society.”
Coming away from the event, we realized how fortunate we were to have this man as our patron, and were inspired to consider what it would mean for ourselves and our country to actively incorporate the Bill of Rights into our daily lives.
Justice Sachs is pictured above with our Matric Ruth First candidates at the Premier, and below with these girls in November 2011 prior to their starting at Jeppe High School for Girls. See how they've grown!