Winner 2014

Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa

Ginzberg Productions

Albie Sachs spent more than 60 years of his life within the anti-apartheid movement, starting as a young college student who got himself arrested as a white man sitting on a bench reserved for “non-whites.” Ultimately, he would help to write the South African Constitution and serve on its first Constitutional Court. Through the years, he was arrested, held in solitary confinement, tortured, and exiled; he lost an arm in a 1988 car bombing by South African security forces. Despite it all, he refused to give over to his inner demons and instead helped lead his nation towards forgiveness and reconciliation. Sachs explains why he refuses an eye-for-an-eye thinking: “What kind of country would it be if it was filled with people who were blind and without arms? But if we achieve democracy and freedom, that will be my soft vengeance.” In Soft Vengeance, filmmaker Abby Ginzberg uses the story of this remarkable human rights advocate to explore how the new South Africa dealt with its colonial past. We award the Peabody to Soft Vengeance for calling attention to this man of deep principles and extraordinary conscience – a role model for what a white ally can contribute to a campaign against racial oppression.


Producer/Director: Abby Ginzberg. Co-Producer/Editor: Ken Schneider. Executive Producers: The Ford Foundation, Alfre Woodard, Deborah Santana. Consulting Producer: Rick Goldsmith. Narrator: Alfre Woodard. Cinematographers: Clifford Bestall, Brian Dowley, Vicente Franco, Daniel Gold, Nic Hofmeyr, Padraic O’Meara, Fabio Ribiero. Composer: Marco D’Ambrosio. Graphic Designer: Mat Baldwin.