After Apartheid: Symbols of Progress and Challenges

TUE, JAN 28, 2003 (1:22:30)

A panel discusses the creation of a new Constitutional Court in post-apartheid South Africa. In 1994, the world looked on as South Africa turned its attention to the historic task of writing and implementing a new constitution that continues to be regarded as the most progressive in the world. Almost a decade later, the Constitutional Court is now creating a permanent home and the first major public building of South Africa’s new democracy. Developed on the site of a prison in Johannesburg, with expressive artwork incorporated throughout, this new Courthouse will serve as a monument to the post-apartheid spirit of an emerging nation in all its diversity. But how has the new democracy changed the lives of the people of South Africa? Can symbols inspire dreams in South Africa’s new democracy?

+ BIO: Albie Sachs

Albie Sachs’ career in human rights activism started 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. Three years later he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown where the Freedom Charter was adopted. He started practice as an advocate at the Cape Bar aged 21. The bulk of his work involved defending people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. Many faced the death sentence. He himself was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement and eventually placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention.In 1966 he went into exile. After spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England he worked for a further eleven years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. In 1988 he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents, losing an arm and the sight of an eye. During the 1980s working closely with Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC in exile, he helped draft the organization’s Code of Conduct, as well as its statutes. After recovering from the bomb he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. In 1990 he returned home and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court.

+ BIO: Margaret Burnham

Professor Burnham began her career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund litigating school desegregation cases. She has served as a Boston municipal court judge and a partner in a Boston civil rights firm with an international human rights practice. Her areas of interest are civil and human rights, comparative constitutional rights, and international criminal law. Professor Burnham directs the Northeastern University Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project , which engages students in legal matters relating to the 1960s US civil rights movement.

+ BIO: Paul Tucker

Paul Hayes Tucker, who has taught art history at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 1978, is currently The Paul Hayes Tucker Distinguished Professor of Art, a Chair established in his name by two Boston patrons of the arts, Barbara Lee and Ellen Poss. Hailed by Time Magazine as one of America’s foremost authorities on Claude Monet and Impressionism, Professor Tucker earned his B.A. from Williams College and his Ph.D from Yale University. Professor Tucker has served on the faculties of the Institute of Fine Arts (NYU), Williams College, and the University of California Santa Barbara, and has been honored with many awards and grants, including the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship (UMass Boston); the Yale Press Governor’s Award for the best book published by an author under 40; and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies as well as from the Florence Gould Arts Foundation. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Professor Tucker served as the President and Chairman of the Board of the Terra Foundation for the Arts and is the founder and Director of Arts on the Point, a public sculpture park in Boston. In addition to his many publications, Professor Tucker has served as guest curator for more than half a dozen major exhibitions, including The Sculpture of William Tucker (2002); Renoir. From Outsider to Old Master. 1870-1892. (2001); The Impressionists at Argenteuil (2000); Monet in the 20th Century (1998-99); Monet. A Retrospective (1994-5); and Monet in the ’90s. The Series Paintings (1990).

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