Law in Action Profile

Professor Heinz Klug

Portrait of Heinz Klug

“I love working with students
and feel privileged to have the
opportunity to continue to work
closely with colleagues around
the world and in South Africa
in particular.”

Read the full interview

Professor Heinz Klug has stories to tell. He comes to his scholarship on constitutional transitions, human rights, and international legal regimes as both an internal player and an external scholar.

Klug was born and raised in South Africa and participated in the anti-apartheid struggle as a journalist and member of the African National Congress (ANC). As a result of his anti-apartheid activities, he was forced to spend 11 years in exile. While in exile in Botswana, he helped set up the Solidarity News Service, an independent news agency covering South Africa, and escaped a plot that killed a number of other anti-apartheid activists exiled there.

Klug came to the U.S. and in 1990, shortly after earning his law degree from University of California - Hastings College of Law, returned to South Africa as a member of the ANC Land Commission and as the researcher for the chairperson of the ANC Constitutional Committee. It was a very tense time, and Klug’s involvement with the ANC Constitutional Committee included additional death threats. He eventually settled into his role working as a legal advisor with the Ministries of Land and Water Affairs and focused on legal reform to help change laws, including access to water rights, based on land rights that were explicitly racist.

The wealth of knowledge Klug gained from his involvement in South Africa’s political and legal transitions is imparted to his students and continues to influence his research. He remains an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and travels annually to South Africa.

Klug teaches Property Law to first-year students and also teaches Comparative Constitutional Law, Constitutional Law, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and Natural Resources Law. He is also the director of the Global Legal Studies Center.

Read more in "An Interview with Professor Heinz Klug" and in Professor Klug's Faculty Profile.

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