South Africa: Poetry in the Air During Judge Edwin Cameron's Send-Off

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Where in the world could an esteemed judge, a proudly gay man who lives openly with HIV, end 25 years of service with a declaration of love to his partner? All of this on live television while seated beside a deeply Christian chief justice whose church abhors homosexuality, but sealed with a smile and a handshake? South Africa, of course.

Something strange and unusual happened in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday 20 August 2019. Edwin Cameron, one of the most respected judges in the world and one of the most senior judges in our land, ended a 25-year career on the bench. In purely legal terms, he left behind an opus of 389 reported judgments handed down from the High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and latterly the Constitutional Court; judgments which span vast areas of law and human rights and which, as a tribute delivered by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Ronald Lamola pointed out, will "speak to generations to come".

"A judge makes a ruling even from the grave," noted Lamola in a remarkably honest and fresh speech in which he readily admitted...

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