[LISTEN] Tembeka Ngcukaitobi on the influence of black voices in legal thought

Exploring the inception of the Bill of Rights as a universal declaration, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi questions whether the very ideas contained in it, are of South African origin and may, in fact, emanate from a group of black intellectuals, at the beginning of the 20th century.

READ: Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Nqcukaitobi spoke to Eusebius McKaiser about his debut book, the Land is Ours and the inspiration behind it, as well as the years of research involved.

The premise is historically flawed. And it is also flawed in terms of the current Constitutions.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate

At the time they didn't call it the constitution, they called it human rights, equality, justice. But those very ideas were themselves reactions and responses to settler violence.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate

The point of the book is to show that constitutionalism emanates... originated in South Africa and it originated from black legal thinkers. So in a sense when we defend constitutional values, we are defending our own history.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate

He explains how African legal thinkers influenced the legal principle of equality for all.

Law in a sense is paradoxical thing because it was always a justification of white settler hegemony.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate

What the characters in the book discovered, especially someone like Alfred Mangena and Samual, when they went to Europe, they realised that law is not always a justification or an instrument of the imposition of white hegemony. It could also have a liberating potential.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate

So they began assimilating the language of Europe in a sense, and applying it to the conditions of Africa.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate

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