Honorable Just David Smuts of the Supreme Court of Namibia in conversation about his new book

Thursday, October  17, 2019 · 6:10 PM

Room 753 Schermerhorn Extension, Columbia University

No registration required

Honorable Just David F. Smuts is Namibia’s most renowned human rights lawyer. In the 1980s, Smuts took on South Africa’s apartheid regime, and brought the case that freed detainees illegally held for six years in dark spot prisons deep in Angola. His fight against the torture of liberation fighters and against corruption in the judicial and political systems earned him international renown and local respect.

Smuts, a graduate of Harvard Law School, was appointed to the High Court of Namibia in 2010 and the Supreme Court of Namibia in 2015, and was a founder of the Legal Assistance Centre, formed to fight the abuses of the apartheid government in Namibia. He also co-founded that country’s first independent newspaper, The Namibian. In 2019, he was elected as an international honorary member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Join us in conversation about Justice Smuts’s new book, Death, Detention and Disappearance (Tafelberg, 2019).

Hosted by The Barnard College Department of Africana Studies and Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Theory.

Co-sponsored by the Committee on Global Thought and the Office of the Executive Vice President of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University.

Honorable Just David F. Smuts, Namibia's foremost human rights lawyer when South Africa was fighting to continue controlling the country, was called to the bar and became founding director of Namibia's Legal Assistance Center. He also helped found Namibia's first independent newspaper. Smuts defended numerous anti-apartheid and anti-occupation prisoners before Namibia became independent. He became a judge of the High Court before joining the Supreme Court as a justice. He has law degrees from Stellenbosch University and a LLM degree from Harvard. Smuts has contributed significantly to the development of human rights jurisprudence in Namibia and to the stature of that country's apex court.


Honorable Just David F. Smuts will speak in Room 753 of Schermerhorn Extension, 1200 Amsterdam Ave, on the Columbia University Morningside campus.


As a department for the multidisciplinary study of the history, politics, cultures, and literatures of Africa and African Diaspora communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, Africana Studies at Barnard is defined by a unique approach to studying the African Diaspora that centers on a gendered analysis of racial and diasporic formations. Its central mission is to train students to think critically about the gendered nature of racial difference from a relational perspective: at once locally, globally, and trans/nationally.

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