Over the last 150 days we have learned much about the power of the habitual in post-millennial, post-apartheid South Africa. We have heard it in the grumbling, cavilling, quarrelling and grousing about the logic (or lack of) of government decrees. We have also seen it in the defiance of logic among the many bourgeois folks who mistook their entitlement for rights, whether to go running, do yoga on the beach, surf, get takeaway coffees, or to purchase items subjected to restricted trade… We saw it in the contradictory messages relayed by official government channels, in the conflict between some experts advising government, between government officials and such experts, and in the ways in which opposition parties contradicted themselves as they opposed government proclamations.
Recent controversies around the Bench and the Bar have highlighted the significance of race and existing patterns of power and privilege within the legal system and profession. Yet public debates seldom explore these issues explicitly. Discussions often end in a stalemate, where views are predetermined along racial lines, and where assertions of racism are countered by calls to reward merit or experience. The time has surely arrived to transcend these tired arguments and explore a new transformative vision of the legal system. In this, we need to acknowledge and confront the institutional and cultural structures that perpetuate racialised privilege and marginalisation. We also need to move beyond those narratives which are determined by our Apartheid past to confront the issues which threaten the profession and the legal system at the moment.
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Judge Dennis Davis. Our panellists are Mr Tshepo Madlingozi from the University of Pretoria, Dr Adila Hassim from the AIDS Law Project, Mr Tembeka Ncgukaitobi from the Legal Resources Centre and Advocate Sharise Weiner from the Johannesburg bar. Refreshments will be served after the event.
Date: Thursday 26 November 2009 at 17:00‐19:00.
Venue: Auditorium, Chalsty Centre, Oliver Schreiner Building, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Kindly RSVP to Hafiza.Wadee@wits.ac.za by 23 November or tel 011‐717‐8412.BACK TO TOP