The Land Is Ours

South Africa’s First Black Lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi

The Land Is Ours tells the fascinating story of South Africa's early black lawyers, and explores the relationship between the law and politics. It shows that the concept of a Bill of Rights, which is an international norm today, was pioneered by these black South African lawyers, and is particularly relevant in light of current debates about the Co
Date Published :
June 2018
Publisher :
Penguin Random House South Africa
Illustration :
8 pages of photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781776092857
Pages : 328
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The Land Is Ours tells the story of South Africa’s first black lawyers, who operated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In an age of aggressive colonial expansion, land dispossession and forced labour, these men believed in a constitutional system that respected individual rights and freedoms, and they used the law as an instrument against injustice. The book follows the lives, ideas and careers of Henry Sylvester Williams, Alfred Mangena, Richard Msimang, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Ngcubu Poswayo and George Montsioa, who were all members of the ANC. It analyses the legal cases they took on, explores how they reconciled the law with the political upheavals of the day, and considers how they sustained their fidelity to the law when legal victories were undermined by politics. The Land Is Ours shows that these lawyers developed the concept of a Bill of Rights, which is now an international norm. The book is particularly relevant in light of current calls to scrap the Constitution and its protections of individual rights: it clearly demonstrates that, from the beginning, the struggle for freedom was based on the idea of the rule of law.

About The Author

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is an advocate of the High Court. He holds the degrees of BProc, LLB (Unitra), LLM (Rhodes) and LLM (London School of Economics). He formed part of the EFF legal team arguing for the state capture report to be released in the North Gauteng High Court.

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