Albie Sachs

by Mir Sultan

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A Small Tribute to the Life of Albie Sachs

Albie Sachs was a rare case during Apartheid South Africa. He was part of a Jewish family that fled Germany during the start of WWII and found himself in South Africa. He spent his childhood as an equal among all people and this convinced him on how to spend his adult life in apartheid South Africa. He joined the South African Communist Party and then the ANC when communism was banned in South Africa. At the age of 17, he was already involved in the Defiance Campaign and was arrested for it. After 21, he became a lawyer and defended as many people in the ANC from the Apartheid Legislature as best he could and continued to do this for several years. After, Sharpeville and the Rivonia Trial in '63, he found himself a target of unfair government imprisonment. It forced him to flee South Africa and he relocated in the UK to possibly forward his cause in South Africa by teaching college classes. At the first signs of things turning for the better, Sachs returned to South Africa and almost died from an assassination attempt the government put on him in 1988. Despite losing in arm from it, he continued to hope for South Africa until the day Apartheid had ended in the 1994. He was rewarded for his faith and was appointed an official judge for fifteen years in South Africa. And he had continued his work of teaching the world about South Africa through literature until he died in 2009.

The significance of Albie Sachs to the anti-apartheid movement was legendary as he was one of the first whites to join and he had done so much in educating the world about Apartheid. He had stood up for the ANC in court as a very young lawyer and possibly influenced more support from the white population. When the government turned incredibly radical, he fled to fight the same battle from a safer location. He had tried to teach a country whose support could have the necessary effect to end Apartheid through international pressure. He influenced more ideals following the anti-apartheid movement during his time as a teacher and continued to do so with other parts of the world. Even after his grievous injury from returning in 1988, he still continued to support anti-apartheid just as vehemently as he did when he was a teenager being arrested during the Defiance Campaign. And the end of apartheid was not where he ended fighting for his ideals, through the work of a judge and an educator, Albie Sachs fought for the ideals of the anti-apartheid movement until he died.