27 July, 2021

The Unending Struggle Of Memory Against Injustice

South Africa remembers the apartheid era in a way we can learn from. A country that forgets its past forgets the ideals it is founded on.

The Unending Struggle Of Memory Against Injustice
Extraordinary human quality is a rare thing to find in our tin-and-tinsel era of money-madness and mindless consumerism, in which success is reckoned by market value, idealism is extinct, and heroes are hard to come by. But I met a man who is an exception, in Johannesburg, last September. I was there to take part in a cultural festival marking 'The Indian Experience in South Africa', but this meeting was not on the programme. It was my good fortune that a friend arranged for me to meet Albie Sachs. He is 73 years old, a judge in the country's highest court, known as the Constitutional Court, and one who played a leading role in writing the constitution that transformed a tyrannical racist state into one of justice and human rights for all. Much is known and repeatedly recalled about the Holocaust, but so little is remembered about the evil decades of apartheid that the man I was waiting to meet in the spacious front room of the court is not as well known in India as he should be. Sachs started life as a privileged white South African, became a...

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