South Africa on Trial

Law 505



Writing Experience (WE)



This is a course about law, lawyers, judges, the government and those caught up in the law in South Africa during apartheid and then in the more than 20 years since the adoption of that nation's Constitution.

Special emphasis placed on the 1963-64 Rivonia trial, at which Nelson Mandela and others were sentenced to life imprisonment. We will also consider in depth the treason trial of the so-called Delmas Four, the last major prosecution under the apartheid regime. We will look at other, less well-known cases, through the eyes and voices of the very small number of black lawyers actively trying to participate in the system.

We will then turn our attention to the new South African Constitution, and we will study its provisions and compare it to the U.S. Constitution. We will consider a few of the opinions of the Court, including its world landmark decision declaring the death penalty to be unconstitutional. Other cases will provide insight on how South Africa is dealing with important issues such as land distribution, housing, HIV-AIDS, the crime rate, and same sex marriage.

K. Broun (Adjunct)

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