As a lawyer defending victims of South Africa’s apartheid government, Albie Sachs was harassed, jailed without trial and eventually driven into exile. In 1988, he survived a car bombing that robbed him of his arm and sight in one eye. After the fall of apartheid, President Nelson Mandela appointed Sachs to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, where he served as one of eleven founding Justices on the Court.

20 Years Later – The Role of Art and Justice in South Africa’s Democracy

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At the entrance to the Constitutional Court of South Africa stands a sculpture of a large man yoked to a cart. His burden is a human one: a man and woman who themselves are seated on the back of a fourth figure kneeling on the cart. At first glance, the sculpture resonates with the history of servitude that marked the dehumanizing institution of apartheid. On closer reflection, the sculpture reveals a more complex message. The sculptor, South African artist Dumile Feni, did not create any racial differentiation between the four figures, and the man drawing the cart is the only figure large and strong enough to accomplish this task. The title of the work is History, and the four figures carry each other in a way that reflects the dependence, the interconnectedness and the tension that have always characterized human relationships. Read more…