Judge Dikgang Moseneke discusses new book: All Rise, A Judicial Memoir

Read time: 3 mins

The UFH Nelson R Mandela School of Law together with Pan Macmillan publishers had the honour of hosting an online discussion with former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, during which he laid down his judicial experience as captured in his latest book titled: All Rise - A Judicial Memoir. The webinar was streamed live on Microsoft Teams on 28 October.

Meaning Behind The Title

Sharing the meaning behind the title, the legal giant said “All Rise” is an important call to duty to those who work actively in the courts to do justice and restore equilibrium.

“It is a call to invite each other to assume our important role and hear out the different sides of participants and claimants, and to seek to resolve the differences before us.”

“It is also a call to civil accountability, for all of us to take a deep breath and look and see if we have been sufficiently accountable or have we chosen the easier path of rolling over.”

With a legal career spanning over 40 years, in his book, the former DCJ depicts a picture of the country’s legal and political landscape, through a compilation of history wherein he records the state of the judiciary in 1994.

“The book throws history at you and reminds the reader that we need to rise to be able to achieve the range of things that we promised each other at the beginning of our democracy.”

Inside All Rise

All Rise follows the former DCJ on a trip from Tanzania to Solomon Mahlangu Freedom School where he shares his experiences and the significance of this journey. It follows him into retirement and being pulled out of retirement to adjudicate the Life Esidimeni case.

“I take you through 1994. I show you the transition. I show you a flying-high Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela standing on a podium delivering his speech where he says:  ‘Let freedom remain a freedom so glorious on it the sun should never set’, and continues to say ‘let there be bread, let there be water and let there be salt.”

The book also offers a unique, insider’s view of the transition in the judicial system. “It takes you through the disciplines of law, jurisprudence and the history of institutions tasked to uphold the law.  It gives you a backdrop of Polokwane (ANC’s 52nd national conference) and the beginning of political contestation within the country and how this was reflected in the cases that landed in court.”

In conclusion, the former DCJ said he dedicates his memoir to all young South Africans and Africans. “They deserve freedom and justice. I hope when these are absent, they will know it and they will not tolerate it and they will rise.”

The session was followed by an intriguing discussion among participants led by Mr Actor Katurura, Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Law and Associate Professor, Arthur van Coller.

Prof Sakhela Buhlungu, Vice-Chancellor and Principal and Dr Nombulelo Lubisi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, expressed gratitude and honour for the opportunity to host the legal maestro.

“We treasure these kinds of visits, this is a rare honour. I think this is the first time a former DCJ has visited this 104-year-old university,” said Prof Buhlungu.

The session concluded with a classic all-rise moment as Senior Law Lecturer, Bronwyn Batchelor requested participants to stand as the Honourable former DCJ exited the session.

by Aretha Linden