The Current

Soft Vengeance: The story of Albie Sachs

As South Africa heads into its first election since Nelson Mandela's death, anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs reflects on his own role in the country's transition to democracy, and how that fight lost him his arm.
With a South African vote looming and a world plagued with conflict ... when everyone seems to value vengeance, anti-apartheid activist and retired Judge Albie Sachs shares his thoughts on the non-avenging values of Soft Vengeance. 

"I wanted to come back to a free South Africa. Its not free yet. But we are freeing ourselves ... when I was lying in my hospital bed after the bomb, I just had this feeling that they couldn't destroy me, they couldn't destroy us ... they couldn't destroy the South African people. We had to win". Anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs arriving in South Africa in 1990 after living 24 years in exile


Albie Sachs is sworn in as a judge
in the first constitutional court in
Johannesburg, Feb 14,1995.
(Philip Littleton/AFP/Getty Images)

For many South Africans, the rapid unraveling of the racist apartheid system was unbelievable to watch... and it is remarkable that Albie Sachs was alive to witness it at all.

In 1988 he was nearly killed by a car bomb planted by South African security forces. The blast cost him his right arm and sight in one eye.

But rather than exact revenge, the attack hardened his resolve to bring democracy and rule of law to his home country.

Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and The New South Africa is a new documentary film about Albie Sach's life.

The film has its Canadian premiere at the Vancouver South African Film Festival on Saturday, with Albie Sachs in attendance.

Mr. Albie Sachs joined us from Chicago.

Share your thoughts on our conversation with Albie Sachs.

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This segment was produced by The Current Josh Bloch.

Advice to activists and a message of hope from Albie Sachs


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