Justice Edwin Cameron, academic, jurist, author and recently retired Constitutional Court judge, was elected to the office of Chancellor of Stellenbosch University (SU) on 25 September 2019.
An SU alumnus and a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the institution in 2015, Justice Cameron is the 15th Chancellor of SU.
The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University and is elected according to the Statute of the University. The Chancellor awards degrees in the name of the University at graduation ceremonies, and also performs other ceremonial duties.
In 2015, SU conferred an honorary doctorate on Justice Cameron in acknowledgement of his “unstinting professional and personal advocacy for the recognition of every person’s dignity, freedom and equality – foundational values he has helped entrenched in our legal system and beyond”. He has helped develop South African law so as to truly reflect the fundamental values of the Constitution. Moreover, his role in securing the inclusion of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Bill of Rights, as well as his advocacy for persons with HIV/Aids, has made him a key player in South African and international law.
Justice Cameron studied at the universities of Stellenbosch, Oxford and South Africa. He started out his career at, among others, the University of the Witwatersrand’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies before he was appointed as senior counsel (SC) in 1994, and as an acting judge of the high court by President Nelson Mandela later that same year. He was appointed a judge of the high court in 1995, judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2001, and justice of the Constitutional Court in 2009.
As the first South African in a high-profile public office speaking openly about his HIV status and experience taking antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), Justice Cameron has made a credible and crucial contribution to more accessible ARV treatment for all HIV-positive South Africans.
His international impact as top jurist with nearly 200 judgments against his name, acclaimed author and popular speaker is evident from the numerous awards he has received. These range from recognition by the Bar of England and Wales for his contribution to international jurisprudence and the protection of human rights, to the prestigious Grand Prix du Conseil Québécois des Gais et Lesbiennes award bestowed on him in Montreal.
Justice Cameron is the recipient of various honorary doctorates and a patron to children’s homes, clinics and associations.
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