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Ismail Mahomed

The Order of the Baobab in

Ismail Mahomed Awarded for:
Exceptional service in law, constitutional jurisprudence and human rights.

Profile of Ismail Mahomed

For nearly 35 years as advocate and later judge, Prof Ismail Mahomed fought for change in South Africa’s legal and human rights’ landscape.

Through commitment and a deep love for justice, this jurist became the first black person to receive silk under the apartheid state in the 70’s.

A patriot but also a child of the continent, justice Mahomed served on the bench in Namibia and Botswana, as judge of the Appeal Court Division in Swaziland and, later as President of the Lesotho Court of Appeal. He played a seminal role in the development of the ground-breaking constitution of the Republic of Namibia.

In 1991, after returning home to South Africa, he broke new ground in South Africa by becoming the first black person to serve in the highly esteemed and powerful position of permanent Supreme Court judge and later served as South Africa’s Chief Justice. He had an indelible impact on South Africa and the world in constitutional jurisprudence, and thought.