Class Action

In Pursuit of a Larger Life

Charles Abrahams

The honest, insightful and inspiring memoir of a South African who wrestled with poverty and oppression in his youth and resolved to keep fighting it as a lawyer via class-action lawsuits.
Date Published :
June 2019
Publisher :
Penguin Random House South Africa
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781776093526
Pages : 232
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Charles Abrahams has spearheaded class-action lawsuits to defend the vulnerable and oppressed, but as a child he experienced oppression himself in the most visceral way. In this remarkable memoir, Charles recounts his poverty-stricken youth on the Cape Flats, amidst habitual gang fights and domestic violence. In the tiny home he shared with ten siblings, his father abused his mother, while at school he and other learners were brutalized by teachers and subjected to inferior ‘Bantu education’. Growing increasingly resilient and resistant, Charles joined the school boycotts of the late 1980s, educated himself through relentless reading, and succeeded in studying at university and qualifying as a lawyer. He made a living defending local gangsters, until a scholarship took him to the Netherlands to study international law. There, in the seedy streets of Amsterdam, he confronted the racial and sexual scars of his past. Charles returned to South Africa determined to use class-action lawsuits as a weapon of social justice. He sued multinationals in New York for supporting the apartheid government took on food companies for fixing the price of bread, and secured a R5-billion settlement from South Africa’s goldmining industry for miners suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis. Class Action is the honest, insightful and inspiring story of a man who wrestled with oppression and resolved to keep fighting it.

About The Author

Charles Abrahams is a prominent South African human-rights and class-action lawyer. He holds a BProc degree from the University of the Western Cape and a master’s degree in Public International Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is the recipient of the prestigious Edward Quist-Arcton Award and the Nelson Mandela Scholarship Award.

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