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Scholar Shares Jewish Story of Apartheid’s End

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CU Professor Zilla Goodman

When we asked Professor Zilla Goodman if she would give a talk about the role Jews played in the fight against apartheid in her native South Africa  –  scheduled for Thursday, November 6 at 7:00 pm at the Boulder JCC  –  we thought it would be a topic of great interest.

Apparently, acclaimed documentary director Abby Ginzberg thought so too. After Zilla agreed to speak on the subject, I was sent a screener of this new film, currently making the festival rounds, “Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa.”

The film details the dramatic life of Albie Sachs, a lawyer, writer, art lover and freedom fighter, and is set against the dramatic events leading to the overthrow of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

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Albie Sachs in 1985

Shining a spotlight on Albie’s story provides a prism through which to view the challenges faced by those unable to tolerate a society founded on principles of slavery and disempowerment of South Africa’s majority black population. As a young man, Albie defended those committed to ending apartheid in South Africa. For his actions as a lawyer, he was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Cape Town, tortured through sleep deprivation and forced into exile.

In 1988 he was blown up by a car bomb set by the South African security forces in Maputo, Mozambique, which cost him his right arm and the sight in one eye, but miraculously he survived and after a long year of rehabilitation in England, he recovered.  Returning to South Africa following the release of Nelson Mandela, Albie helped write the new Constitution and was then appointed as one of the first 11 judges to the new Constitutional Court, which for the past 20 years has been insuring that the rights of all South Africans are afforded protection.

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Professor Goodman will provide detailed information about Albie Sachs, as well as many other Jewish South Africans who helped bring apartheid to an end and to shepherd a newly devised system of government.

Coordinator of Hebrew Language and Literature, Professor Goodman is Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Program in Jewish Studies. A co-founder of the Program in Jewish Studies in 2007, Professor Goodman received her doctorate in modern Hebrew literature from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, where she grew up.

To make a reservation for the talk, which is part of Menorah’s Scholar’s Series: CU at the J, click here.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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