The Langa family lighting the memorial candle at the

The School of Law recently held a Memorial Service to pay tribute to the late Chief Justice Pius Langa. The service which was attended by members of the Langa family, the judiciary and law academics and students celebrated Chief Justice Langa’s legal and humanitarian efforts towards ensuring equality and justice for all South Africans.

Langa’s close association with the School began in 1998 when he was appointed an Honorary Professor in Procedural and Clinic Law. His legacy as one of the greatest legal minds in South African legal history continues to inspire law students, through his keen sense of justice evident in his judgments and the legal expertise which he imparted to the law academics that he mentored. The Pius Langa Scholarship and the Pius Langa Residence bears testimony to the recognition bestowed by UKZN on this great human being.

Speaking at the memorial service, the Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi said: ‘My colleagues and I in the School of Law have had the honour and privilege of interacting with the late Chief Justice on a number of occasions, most notably after he was appointed Chief Justice of South Africa. Despite occupying the highest judicial office in the land, the most defining aspect of these interactions with the late Chief Justice was his humility and the respect he afforded to everyone he met, regardless of their status. Chief Justice Langa was a soft spoken, mild mannered man who, as is typical of most great intellectuals, listened more than he spoke.  We are here to celebrate his tireless efforts towards improving the lives of all South Africans thus leaving the world a better place.’

In his address on behalf of the judiciary, the Honourable Mr Justice Chiman Patel, Judge President of KwaZulu-Natal described Langa as a legal stalwart who will be remembered for his dedication to the legal system and his contribution to UKZN.

‘Despite his rise to the pinnacle of the judiciary, he still found time to contribute to this University and for that we are thankful. His legal expertise and dedication to the judicial system will be remembered for years to come,’ said Patel.

In a personal tribute, Professor David McQuoid-Mason, the Chairperson of UKZN’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and former Dean of the Law School described Langa as a colleague, friend and struggle icon. From a student’s perspective, Mr Karl Bloom highlighted how the late Chief Justice Langa’s most influential judgments shape students’ understanding of the law.

Speaking on behalf of the Langa family, Chief Justice Langa’s daughter Phumzile: said: ‘We are very pleased that the School of Law has held this Memorial Service as we know that this institution was close to Tata’s (father) heart. We are happy to see the familiar faces that have been through this trying time and would like to thank everyone for their support.’

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