Fikile Bam dies at Milpark Hospital

Judge President of the Land Claims Court, Fikile Bam, died at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Sunday, according to a report by SABC radio news.

According to his nephew who spoke to the broadcaster, Bam (74) had suffered with cancer for many years.

SA History Online records Fikile Charles Bam as born on July 18 1937 in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape. He attended St Peter’s Secondary School from 1956, and went on to study law at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1960.

Bam was a member of the Yu Chi Chan Club (Chinese for guerrilla warfare) which was a study group that met to discuss means of achieving liberation.

In 1960, Bam was arrested and detained after the Sharpeville and Langa massacres, when a state of emergency was declared in the country. Bam was then sentenced to imprisonment on Robben Island in 1963, and served an 11-year term on the island from 1964 to 1975.
He was detained with other prominent political leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.

After his release from prison, Bam obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 1975 and a Baccalaureus Procurationis from the same institution in 1976.

Bam applied to join the Pretoria Bar Council in 1978 but was refused. During the same year, he was enrolled and admitted as an attorney for the Republic of South Africa.

He also served as a director of various South African and international companies, including KAPBeteiligungs in Germany, Putco, Volkswagen SA, First National Bank, Iscor Ltd., Armscor, Silver Oak Industries and Consol.

Bam was a partner in Deneys Reitz Attorneys firm from 1994 to 1995, a member of the SABC from 1993 to 1996 and the director at the Legal Resources Centre in Port Elizabeth in 1985.

Bam was appointed Commissioner of the Goldstone Commission from 1992 to 1993 and was an advocate in both the Supreme Court of South Africa and the Transkei.

He served as a mediator for the Independent Electoral Committee in 1994, when the first democratic elections took place in South Africa.

In the academic arena, Bam was a Visiting Fellow to Yale University in 1985, and served as Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1997 to 1998. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rhodes University in 2001.—Sapa

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