Albie Sachs is a retired Justice of the South African Constitutional Court. His career in human rights activism began in 1955 at the age of seventeen when, as a second year law student at the University of Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. During the next eleven years, Justice Sachs worked as an activist and lawyer defending individuals targeted by apartheid laws. After several bouts of detention and solitary confinement, Justice Sachs went into exile in 1966.
In 1988, while he working as a law professor in Mozambique, a bomb placed in Justice Sachs’ car by South African security agents resulted in the loss of his right arm and the sight of one eye. After recovering from the bomb blast, Justice Sachs devoted himself to preparations for a new democratic constitution for South Africa.
Following the first democratic elections in 1994, President Nelson Mandela appointed Justice Sachs to the newly established Constitutional Court, where he served for fifteen years.
Since his retirement from the Court in 2009, Justice Sachs has been a frequent visiting professor at universities and law schools throughout the world and has served as an advisor on matters of constitutional law.
A prolific author, Justice Sachs has won two Alan Paton Awards, for Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter (1991) and The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law (2009).