Justice Albie Sachs Delivers Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture on the Constitution, Equality and Decolonisation.
On Thursday the 24th of August Justice Albie Sachs gave a lecture titled “The Constitution as an Instrument of Decolonisation and Achieving True Equality”. The lecture was the fourth and final lecture in the ‘Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series’ hosted by the H.F. Oppenheimer Chair of Human Rights Law, together with the Research Chair of Historical Trauma and Transformation and the Director of the University Museum. The lecture series is based on “Oliver Tambo’s Vision of a Constitution that Empowered the People, not Individuals”.
According to Justice Sachs, if one were to do a paternity test on the Constitution, it would contain the DNA of Oliver Tambo. He spoke of Oliver Tambo’s leadership, his powerful integrity and the “intensity of his honesty”. In speaking of Oliver Tambo’s legacy that lies in the Constitution, Justice Sachs emphasised that the Constitution is indeed an African document in that it was an integral part of the ANC culture since as early as 1923. He further emphasised that Oliver Tambo saw the Constitution as belonging to South Africa not just politically, but psychologically, socially and culturally as well.
Justice Sachs highlighted nuanced examples of constitutional text that illustrates the intricacies of freedom and equality. In doing so, he praised Prof Sandy Liebenberg for her “relentless pursuit” for the constitutional recognition of socio-economic rights, which are a fundamental tool for transformation. Justice Sachs emphasised that although the Constitution brought about a significant degree of transformation and decolonisation, there is still a need for deeper transformation. He encouraged the younger generation to use the Constitution to bring about change in the “thoughtful, committed” Oliver Tambo way. For more on the ‘Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series’ click here.