Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs And The New South Africa

Abby Ginzberg

Tribute to South African lawyer, writer and activist Albie Sachs who dedicated himself to the struggle against apartheid as early as the fifties. The military intelligence service placed a bomb in his car in 1988. While losing one arm and sight in one eye, he never relinquished his combativeness.

Albie Sachs (80) is a lawyer, judge, writer, art aficionado and above all a champion of freedom. Against the background of the dramatic fall of the South African apartheid regime, the film draws a portrait of a remarkable man and his lifelong struggle against injustice. As a young lawyer, Sachs defended people who were prosecuted under the apartheid laws. His activism came at a price: solitary confinement, torture, 25 years of exile and attempted murder.

While in exile, he took part in the negotiations that led to the dismantling of apartheid. Sachs returned to South Africa after the liberation of Nelson Mandela to assist in the drafting of the new Constitution. He became judge at the Constitutional Court, where he championed abolition of the death penalty and legalisation of same-sex marriage. Sachs believed that his ‘soft vengeance’ would be the establishment of freedom and democracy in South Africa.


Abby Ginzberg
Alfre Woodard
Country of production
South Africa, United States, Mozambique
84 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Ginzberg Productions
World Sales