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"I couldn't be admitted to any University" - Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza

Written by: Marisa Oosthuizen

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza shared his incredible journey with delegates to Lead SA's third annual Changemakers Conference, recalling his early stories of activism as a student at the Fort Hare University from 1967. A year later he, along with six of his peers, started 'Operation Catwalk' to stand up to the pro-Apartheid activities of the then vice-chancellor, Prof JM De Wet. They were subsequently arrested and charged with sabotage, a charge that was reduced to the malicious damage to property.

They were fined and De Wet also ensured that they were barred from attending university in South Africa.

"I couldn't be admitted to any university."

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza

Ntsebeza went on to study towards a BA degree at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and became a teacher. It was while he was teaching that his interest turned towards law, which he also studied through UNISA.

Advocate Ntsebeza has lived an interesting life, being at the forefront of standing up to the Apartheid regime by presenting political prisoners throughout the 80s and early 90s. It was only natural that he would be appointed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as South Africa embarked on finding answers and healing the deep wounds left by its dark past.

He is a founder of South African National Association of Democratic Lawyers and served as president of South Africa's Black Lawyers' Association. He’s a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and also sat as a judge in various divisions of the High Court of South Africa.

"The wheels of justice grind extremely slow, but they grind extremely fine."

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza

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