The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law by Albie Sachs – French Edition – Welcoming remarks and tribute to Professor Christof Heyns (Traduction française en bas du texte)Posted: 22 December, 2021
Author: Justice Albie Sachs
Author & Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
This edition is remarkable in many ways.
To begin with, it has been published by the Centre for Human Rights (Centre) at the University of Pretoria, the university that was once the brain, the soul and the heart of apartheid thinking. What a brave effort it had been in the 1980s, when Mandela and others were still in prison, people like myself were in exile and the country was suffering from one State of Emergency after another, for Professors Johann Van der Westhuizen and Christof Heyns to establish the Centre. Then, after democracy was achieved, Johann went on to become a colleague of mine on the South African Constitutional Court, while Christof took over the Centre’s leadership. The main thrust of his work was to link the Centre with lawyers, law teachers and students throughout the African continent. Christof died earlier this year. We still feel the shock at the passing of a most remarkable person. He was humane, he was funny, he was hardworking. He had a quiet passion, and there was absolutely no showoff at all in anything that he did. He made impossible things possible. He worked with equal ease and success all over the African continent, at Geneva, and for the United Nations. The clash of ideas enthralled him. Nothing about human life was ever banal; any team he ever headed found the discussions enthralling. It was fun – the more intractable the subject matter, the more exciting and joyous the extraction of serviceable and meaningful truths. Wherever he went he brought with him this creative, participatory style of work. And one of his special projects was to connect up English-speaking and French-speaking lawyers in Africa. This French language edition of the book is dedicated to him.