Albie Sachs

By Natalia Torcia

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Brief Biography

Albie Sachs was born 30th January, 1935 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His parents Emil Sachs and Solly Sachs were immigrants from Lithuania when it was still a part of the Russian Empire. During that time Jews within the Empire were subjected to discrimination and violence. His father soon joined the South African communists youth movement in the 1920's. And after his parents separation Albie began to follow in his parents footsteps, for his mothers political activism stayed a powerful influence on him. At the Age of 15 her joined a multiracial society called the Youth Society. And by 1952, at 17 years old, Albie joined the Defiance of Unjust Law Campaign. After getting his degree in the practice of law he began his defiance by defending mostly black clients and others against apartheid. While exiled from Africa for disrupting laws of government, he published his book The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, and many more. After 24 years of exile, Albie returned to Africa and was appointed to the Constitution Committee, and given the job of drafting the charter for a new non-racial state. He was as well a persuasive advocate for inclusion of the Bill of Rights. Soon after during the multiracial elections, the constitution and Bill of Rights were adopted by the new parliment.

An Important Figure of Anti-Apartheid

From beginning to end, Albie Sachs played a significant role in his dedication to the anti-apartheid movement. Albie was an immigrant from Lithuania where he new much of the discrimination his family was subjected to, and he was seeing it again in South Africa. He has an important role in not only detesting apartheid but understanding its injustice. He grew up seeing Black and White adults as equals, which caused him to be socially isolated. This played a significant role in his independent thinking and ends up characterizing what his entire life will revolve around, in bringing down apartheid. Even after being exiled, Sachs writes a book, The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, which becomes widly read and even adopted into a play. This was one of his first passive actions that began to open the eyes of others to what apartheid has caused many Africans. Overall, Albie Sachs was a significant figure in the anti-apartheid movement, for he helped the overall forefront of the recognition of human rights and won praise from many jurists all over the free world. This was a beginning to a new constitutional court.
21 Icons : Albie Sachs : Short Film


"Albie Sachs Biography -- Academy of Achievement." Academy of Achievement. Dec 04, 2013. Web. 15 November 2015.

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An Apartheid Notice on a Beach near Capetown, Denoting the Area for Whites Only. N.d. Getty Images, n.p. Comp. Keystone.

Bown, Jane. Albie Sachs. 1989. Theguardian, n.p.

Furmanovsky, Jill. SA's Dark Past. N.d. Times Live, n.p.

Icons, 21. "21 Icons : Albie Sachs : Short Film." YouTube. YouTube, 10 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

PILAireland. "Justice Albie Sachs' Keynote Address at the 2014 PILA Conference." YouTube. YouTube, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.