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18 S. Afr. J. on Hum. Rts. 309 (2002)
The Fourth Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture - Transformative Adjudication

handle is hein.journals/soafjhr18 and id is 311 raw text is: THE FOURTH BRAM FISCHER
It falls on me to deliver the fourth Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture. At
the outset, I wish to thank the Legal Resources Centre for keeping alive
the memory of the treasured life of Bram Fischer. The invitation to
deliver the Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture is a privilege. This invitation
is as gracious as it is daunting. Unlike my illustrious and acclaimed
predecessors, Mr Nelson Mandela', the first President of a democratic
South Africa, the departed Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed2 and our
present Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, 3 I was not privileged to know
personally the excellence of Bram Fischer's legal advocacy, the
steadfastness of his socio-political convictions, the warmth of his
personal interactions and the integrity of his character. I blame my
misfortune on my premature departure for Robben Island prison in 1963,
a good three years before Bram Fischer was condemned to life
imprisonment in March 1966.
Mr Mandela delivered the first lecture in memory and honour of Bram
Fischer a little beyond a year after the advent of freedom and non-racial
democracy in South Africa. Mr Mandela paid, if not reverent,
triumphant homage to 'a great advocate and a great patriot'. Whilst
Mr Mandela had unending admiration and respect for his legal advocacy,
it was Bram Fischer the 'great patriot' and 'comrade in the road to
freedom' that Mr Mandela chose to eulogise. In the concluding remarks
of the memorial lecture, he observed that:
In any history written of our country two Afrikaner names will always be remembered.
Happily, one is still with us, dear comrade Beyers Naude. The other is Bram Fischer. The
people of South Africa will never forget him. He was among the first bright beacons that
attracted millions of our young people to fervently believe in a non-racial democracy in
our country.
Bram Fischer was a remarkable person. His life was as accomplished as it
* Delivered at the Nelson Mandela Civic Theatre, Johannesburg, 25 April 2002.
** Judge of the Pretoria High Court.
1 On 9 June 1995, Mr Mandela delivered the first memorial lecture at the Market Theatre,
2 Chief Justice I Mahomed delivered the second memorial lecture on 3 February 1998 at the
House of Assembly, Cape Town.
3 Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson delivered the third memorial lecture on 18 May 2000.

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