A History of Black Lawyers in South Africa

Convened by Professor Jonathan Klaaren, WISER

Parallel to a rising interest in the globalization of the contemporary legal profession, locally based scholarship on the history of black lawyers has seen a recent mini-boom.  One focus has been the role of lawyers in nationally constitutive thought.  Another theme has been the recovery and uncovering of several distinct internal professional borders.  Some of this scholarship also takes a resolutely regional perspective, exploring multiple aspects of several Southern African borders.  This project on the histories of black lawyers works with and alongside these growing strands of scholarship, aiming to critically explore the construction and participation of black legal professionals in the South(ern) African legal and social order(s).

After responses were received from call for papers, a workshop was held at WiSER on 3 August 2022.

The workshop began with an understanding that researchers have only begun the work of uncovering and narrating the histories of black lawyers in South and Southern Africa, as well as extending those histories to existing and emerging research.  The workshop aimed to support, critically explore, and extend the histories presented in several eras and fields.  Further, through profiling ongoing research, the event debated the participation of black women and men in the profession.

Please click on the workshop link above or contact Jonathan Klaaren at jonathan.klaaren@wits.ac.za or Alice Brown at brown.alice99@gmail.com for more information.

WISER Research Theme: