Albie Sachs

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Albie Sachs is one of the white heroes of the South African story. He was a member of the outlawed ANC and working as a civil rights lawyer in exile in Mozambique when he lost an arm and an eye in a car bomb attack in 1988.

In his life now as one of the judges on South Africa’s highest court and one of the main architects of its constitution, he practices what he calls soft vengeance. That’s when a lifelong struggle against apartheid gives you a front row seat as a founding father of a new democracy and a chief defender of its laws.

Soft vengeance is giving amnesty to your torturers, giving legal rights to the same people who denied you yours. Albie Sachs says if he could miraculously be given his arm back, he would refuse. His shape now, he says, has become irrecuperably embedded in the forward momentum of his country.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)