Gcina Hope – a fabulous story teller – was the Mistress of Ceremony, and created a framework tale that made the conference itself into a “coming of age ceremony” – very important in traditional African societies.
The outgoing IFLA president Alex Byrne, the president elect Ellen Tise (University of Stellenbosch) and the SA Minister of Arts and Culture all gave good and committed speeches. But it was the music and the telling of tales, on the one hand, and the outstanding keynote speech of judge Albie Sachs, on the other, that lifted the event into the stratosphere.
Sachs is a lawyer who has been central to the liberation struggle since the fifties. SA security tried to kill him with a car bomb while he worked in exile in Mozambique – and he lost his right arm and the sight on one eye. After the first free elections in 1994 Mandela appointed him to the Constitutional court.
He spoke – as far as I could see – without a manuscript – and told about his experiences in solitary detention – and his gratitude to the Supreme Court, which allowed him access to books – after a long period with the Bible as his only reading.
Wisdom, pain, integrity and humour combined.
In Durban I am mainly blogging with pictures – se the sets