Legal guru Jules Browde dies

Founding member of Lawyers for Human Rights, Advocate Jules Browde has passed away. He gave up the ghost on Tuesday at the age of 98.

Significantly, the legal luminary was an eminent member of the Johannesburg Bar, a long-serving human rights activist and Jewish communal leader.

Jules Browde’s Profile

Remarkably, in the course of his career stretching over more than half a century‚ he was Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo’s legal lifeline‚ as well as the lifeline of other numerous anti-apartheid activists.

Jules Browde was born in Johannesburg in 1919. His career started after he obtained a BA from Wits University. Thereafter, he enlisted in the Union Defence Force in the early months of World War II.

At the expiration of the war, he forged ahead with his studies at Wits‚ where he first came across late struggle icon, NelsonMandela‚ a fellow law student.

After independence, precisely, in 1996‚ Browde was appointed by Mandela to probe irregularities in the appointment of certain public servants posts during the transition to democracy period.



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Also, he was appointed as a Senior Counsel in 1969‚ and went on to serve as an acting Judge in South Africa‚ as well as a judge on the Appeal Courts of Swaziland and Lesotho.

In July 2008‚ he was crowned with the Sydney and Felicia Kentridge Award for Service to Law in Southern Africa. And in 2011, the SA Jewish Report honoured Browde and his spouse, Professor Selma Browde, with the Helen Suzman Lifetime Achievement Award.

He also served as national president of the Habonim youth movement for 25 years. Reports say he planted a tree during a ceremony at Kibbutz Yezre’el, marking the 70th Habonim reunion during his last visit to Israel in 2005.

Jules Browde Wife, Kids

The legal luminary was married, for close to 70 years, to a renowned senior radiation oncologist at Wits and the Johannesburg group of hospitals, professor Selma Browde. They had three sons: Ian, Alan, and Paul.

Jules Browde Biography

Memoirs are often written to document the history, early stages and public life of prominent figures from whom we can then learn a lesson or two from. Jules Browde with his long list of achievements in his legal career certainly falls under such a personality that people would be interested in. Daniel Browde the grandson of Jules Browde wrote the book titled “The Relatively Public Life Of Jules Browde.”

Daniel Browde also attended the University of the Witwatersrand. He studied English and Archaeology and afterwards began working as a researcher, actor, and film editor. He initially published a graphic novel called Rebirth in 2013 together with Josh Ryba. His grandfather’s biography The Relatively Public Life of Jules Browde was published in 2016.

The subject of the biography is, of course, the life of the legal luminary Jules Browde and gives quite a lot of insight into his achievements. Jules Browde actually studied with Nelson Mandela prior to becoming his legal lifeline and he served with distinction in the North African and European theatres during World War 2. Jules Browde was also shown in his biography to have formed a bond with a lot of the fighters in the struggle against apartheid and he was one of South Africa’s early human rights advocates. This all contributed to him being at age 97 (when he died) one of the chief contributors to South African history.

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Perhaps another show of the popularity that Jules Browde garnered before his death was the number of people that turned up for the launch of The Relatively Public Life Of Jules Browde. It held at Exclusive Books Hyde Park and included such notable guests as Justice Edwin Cameron, George Bizos and Ivan Vladislavić. The guests gathered to lend their support to Daniel Browde and listen to his tales about his grandfather. A Business Day reporter who led the conversation with Daniel Browde said: “The book is wonderful for many reasons, but one of them is recording history.”

Unfortunately, Jules Browde died just before the actual publication of the book, but he was involved in the process of its writing and knew prior to his death that it was complete.