17 August 2022

It is 20 years since the passing of South’s Africa’s Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed who has left an indelible mark on society.

Ismail was the most outstanding and dedicated patriot who served our country with unswerving commitment. He stood out as a towering figure in our fearless judiciary, a first-rate legal mind and a judicial strategist par excellence with a passion for civil liberties, a tower of strength intellectually, the author of powerful and persuasive opinions..

Chief Justice Mahomed was one of the most courageous and erudite justices that the African continent has ever produced. We surely miss him.

Our obvious consolation is that he has left indelible imprints and footprints on the sands of time for us to continually remember him. His death represents the end of an era of those eminent jurists who sat at the apex court and made indelible marks in judiciary. He was a trailblazer for judicial equality, a jurist of historic stature. He was also a tenacious protector of the rule of law. His alma mater was equally reverential. He was truly a “giant” amongst us mortals.

Ismail was purely a classical, erudite and distinguished jurist. Very eloquent, brilliant and with such jurisprudential sagacity of a rare breed, he was an epitome of judicial uprightness.

Throughout his storied career he was referred to as a titan of the law, his powerful dissents were breathtaking.

In a long legal career, he was a beacon of justice which embodied brilliance and goodness. He became an icon with his towering intellect and devotion to our promise of equality, a relentless defender of justice in our country and a legal mind for the ages. He served our nation with a deep reverence for the law and our Constitution.


His contributions to our constitutional law and jurisprudence are unrivalled. He provided superb leadership for the legal system, improved the delivery of justice for the people, and earned the admiration of his colleagues throughout the judiciary.

He led the judicial branch of government with tremendous skill and wisdom. He honoured his country with a lifetime of service; this country will honour his memory. He was “Our own Lord Denning.” His indomitable conviction and his fierce intelligence left a lasting imprint on the legal landscape he helped to transform. He made us adhere more closely to the hope, if not always the truism, that our country was a nation of laws not men.

Those who knew him respected his intellectual honesty, his dazzling brilliance and his overpowering, nice warm and charming personality.

His commitment to the rule of law was total. He left us something to emulate, decipher and make marks on in the course of our life experiences to make this country better.

Judge Ismail Mahomed’s death on June 17 2000 was a huge loss to the law profession and of course to our dear country. He was a great mentor and was seemingly fixed like the Northern Star.

We thank the Almighty for his life and times. May his profound soul rest in peace. He was truly a perennial symbol of individual excellence.

His unparraled legacy and impact will never be forgotten. His legal mind and dedication to justice has left an indelible mark on our land.

Farouk Araie


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