Former Deputy Chief Justice Dr Dikgang Moseneke donates private collections of books and rare artefacts to UP

Posted on August 04, 2021

Former Deputy Chief Justice and holder of a UP Law honorary doctorate Dr Dikgang Moseneke recently donated his private collections of books, artefacts and journals to the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Oliver R Tambo Law Library.  

The donation includes, among other items, Justice Moseneke’s Robben Island security file, private annotated law reports, rare photographs and artworks from his personal, political and judicial career, as well as major awards, scrolls and trophies. This collection will be housed in the “Dikgang Moseneke Research Commons” to be constructed in the Law Library.

“All these books and journals are my private collections from my time as a practising advocate, a junior and senior judge and as deputy chief justice of South Africa. It is kind of UP to want to have these collections become part of a cultural precinct within the library, to share with our country’s young people and the UP community at large,” said Dr Moseneke.  

Professor Charles Maimela (left) and Professor Joel Modiri (centre) receive the donation of books and rare artefacts from Former Deputy Chief Justice Dr Dikgang Moseneke (right).

“In your retirement you can hardly find an honour greater than people seeking to remember your contributions in your lifetime. This normally happens when you have passed on, but while I am still alive UP has given me the tremendous privilege of creating a heritage space containing a number of memorable items connected with my career, that will be able to talk to the youth about our long struggles for freedom and change in our country.”

Dr Moseneke worked towards social justice, African liberation and to eradicate inequality in South Africa during his practising years as a lawyer which he continued as a judge . “I fought most of my struggles against the apartheid government in Pretoria, and now that there is a university that is undergoing transformation in this city, I am proud to be a part of the process. UP has become a place of values that we have fought for, and those values are being lived,” he said. 

Professor Charles Maimela, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law, said the faculty is proud and humbled by this generous gesture and looks forward to working with Dr Moseneke. “Our law students will benefit greatly from these private collections from the former deputy chief justice because these materials will only be stationed in our university, which will attract students nationally and across the globe to come and see and read what Dr Moseneke used while practising as a scholar and a judge. These collections will also enhance the research productivity of our faculty and UP and this will inspire our students.

“We plan to solidify our collaborations with Dr Moseneke and look forward to formulating this relationship with him, to make sure his legacy lives on for the next generation. We are going to have a number of initiatives with Dr Moseneke in future in order to learn from this great giant,” he said. The Faculty of Law will be undertaking a project, under the direction of Prof Maimela and Professor Joel Modiri, Head of the Department of Jurisprudence, to honour and celebrate Justice Moseneke’s legacy through other strategic and community engagement initiatives to be announced shortly.

Professor Elsabe Schoeman, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said it is a huge privilege and an honour for the Faculty of Law and UP that Dr Moseneke chose to donate his private collections to the institution: “It comes with a huge responsibility for us to be entrusted with his legacy, and it is important for us to not only look after these books, but also to share the information with the UP community. We hope to have gatherings soon with the retired deputy chief justice after the COVID-19 regulations have been relaxed; this will be a huge motivation for our students.”     

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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