From the 2008 News Archive
Oct. 2 Film and Panel to Feature S. African Constitutional Judge
The School of Law will screen "Courting Justice," a 2008 documentary about the pioneering women who have become judges in South Africa since the fall of Apartheid. Following the film,
Distinguished Visiting Professor Bess Nkabinde-Mmono
, a Judge on South Africa's Constitutional Court, and the film's creator Ruth Cowan, a Scholar-in-Residence at American University, will participate in a post-film discussion. The 70-minute film will be shown in the law school's Ceremonial Courtroom on Oct. 2 at 4:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Crystal Edwards at 410-706-2091.
Description of "Courting Justice:"
In South Africa, more than a decade after the end of Apartheid, the judiciary is still made up of a select elite group of people. In all aspects of a judge's professional life they are exactly the same as all the other judges, but these judges share one distinguishing feature: they are women. For years prior to the fall of Apartheid South Africa's courts were presided over by white men. Thirteen years later, with all the judges that have been appointed, only 18% of superior court seats are held by women and only one female judge holds a leadership position. As a small and effective part of one of the most advanced judicial systems in the world, Constitutional Court Judges Yvonne Mokgoro and Bess Nkabinde, Supreme Court of Appeal's Mandisa Maya, Johannesburg High Court's Mathilde Masipa and Cape High Court's Deputy Judge President Traverso, Pat Goliath and Tandazwa Ndita, express their thoughts, feelings and beliefs around the judicial situation in South Africa, sub-conscious prejudice and the importance of women being in the judiciary. They also discuss their feelings of responsibility and loneliness, their inability to leave their work behind and the family time they sacrifice in their dedication to duty.
This film is an absorbing insight into the land's top female judges and effectively reveals the real women behind the gowns and the gavels.
James Smith on Sept. 5, 2008