Impressions from South Africa: A Conversation with Justice Albie Sachs

Recently I had the honor of meeting Justice Albie Sachs, one of the first judges appointed to South Africa’s new Constitutional Court by Nelson Mandela in 1994, and taking him through the exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at MoMA. In the video above, Justice Sachs illuminates the history, triumphs, and humanity of his homeland through key works in the show.

Justice Sachs was among the first 11 judges appointed by President Mandela following his victory in the country’s first multiracial election. Committed to defending equal rights since his student days, Sachs fought racism and was outspoken on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) during apartheid, even as he endured solitary confinement and an assassination attempt. When apartheid was dismantled, and Mandela released from jail in 1990, Sachs focused on the transition to democracy and a new Bill of Rights. Alongside this work, he cultivated the arts and their essential role in the new South Africa, including in the court itself.

I hope you’ll have the opportunity to view these powerful works in person before the exhibition closes on August 29.