n South African Journal on Human Rights - Judges' history : on the use of history in the judgment

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



Histories are true stories, and any attempt to evaluate them must take into account both parts of that phrase. The truth of the history is paramount, and can be established by reference to documents, testimonies, and other primary sources. But the of the history - the way it narrates the events of the past, ties them together, and explains them - must also be examined. After all, every history is an interpretation, a set of claims and an argument about the meaning of connected and contested events. This is true whether the history is written by a professionalised academic, a political provocateur, or a sitting judge.

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