Justice Dikgang Moseneke was on Wednesday honoured for his years of service to the country, "both in the courtroom and beyond its walls", during a joint symposium between the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Witwatersrand.
The former deputy chief justice appeared relaxed as he sat in the front row of the lecture theatre in UCT’s Kramer Law Building, where a number of panel discussions focusing on the "activist judge" and the "intellectual judge" took place.
UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price said few public figures had Moseneke’s moral authority. The symposium aimed to "pay tribute to this courageous and compassionate leader".
Moseneke is a founding member of the Black Lawyers' Association and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa. He started as an attorney’s clerk in 1976, after completing his matric, a BA in English, and political science and B Juris degrees while on Robben Island.
He was arrested and convicted at the age of 15 for taking part in anti-apartheid activities, and sentenced to 10 years in jail. After his release, he completed an LLB through Unisa.
Opening the first discussion, UCT law faculty Professor Hugh Corder described Moseneke as one of the most significant members of the legal profession and judiciary.
Judge Dennis Davis would interview Moseneke during the Ben Beinart Memorial Lecture at the end of the symposium on Wednesday afternoon.