The Rivonia Trial: Bram Fischer's Trial

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Bram Fischer did not get to see the Democratic South Africa we live in today. Bram, along with other prominent figures like Ruth First and Steve Biko died fighting for the nation we live in. Bram did what any advocate should do, stand for what is morally right. As the lead counsel for the defendants in the Rivonia Trial, Bram set the foundation for today’s lawyers by challenging the Positivist approach of law that justified the system of Apartheid. Despite his imprisonment for his participation in the Rivonia Trial, Bram knew what he had done was right, and he stated this in his trial in 1966. Bram is today remembered through the annual Bram Fischer Memorial Lectures. In Johannesburg, Hendrik Verwoerd Drive had been changed to Bram Fischer Drive and Bloemfontein International Airport has become Bram Fischer International.

This is the story of Bram Fischer. A man, as Antjie Krog stated in Country of My Skull, [who] “was so much braver than the rest of us,” (Krog, 1998: 24) how he was raised to question society, how he challenged the Apartheid regime and how he died a hero.

On the 23rd of April 1908, Abram “Bram” Fischer was born in the rising town of Bloemfontein in the Republic - The Orange Free State. South Africa would only become a Union two years later. Abram was born to a notable Afrikaner family. “The Fischers were part of the white elite in Bloemfontein.” (Meredith, 2002: 5). His father - Percy Fischer, had an illustrious legal

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