A conversation between Albie Sachs and Simukai Chigudu

The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May has given rise to a wave of protests and a movement of people across the world that find common sources of anger and grievances across borders. The fact that this happened in a world already reeling from the corona-virus has made some of us wonder if we have been offered an all too fleeting but unique window to see, understand and act in the world more thoughtfully, responsibly, and for a greater change. In fact, the deeper issues that confront us – the pandemic, racism, climate change and increasing inequality to name a few – are outpacing our individual and institutional responses. We need new approaches – personal, organizational, societal, and global – that are systemic and more proportionate to the challenges facing us.

What are the opportunities for catalytic dialogue, action and transformation in a time of anger, indignation, fear and a foreboding of trends? What capacity and responsibility do we all have to channel our anger, acknowledge wrongs committed, attempt to right them and find appropriate paths to justice, equality and inclusion? How do we use these moments to create more meaningful shifts and, to paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King, bend the arc of history towards justice.

Albie Sachs and Simukai Chigudu will engage each other and us in these questions.

About our discussants

● Albie Sachs has been a human rights activist since 1952. Thrown into prison, exiled in 1966 and blown up by a bomb in 1988, he became a leading member of the ANC. Serving as a judge on the Constitutional Court, he was one of the chief architects of the post-apartheid constitution of 1996. He was largely responsible for the creation of the Constitutional Court Complex that was built on the site of three notorious prisons in Johannesburg, which now stands as one of the world’s foremost examples of a suite of acknowledgement, commemoration and atonement at one and the same time.

● Simukai Chigudu, a medical doctor, is a young associate professor in African Studies at the University of Oxford, and a founding member of the Oxford “Rhodes Must Fall” group that aims to decolonise the university and academia more generally.