Edwin Cameron

Edwin Cameron

Edwin Cameron (born February 15, 1953) is a South African Rhodes scholar and Supreme Court of Appeal judge who was the first senior South African official to state publicly that he was living with HIV/AIDS. Cameron was inspired to act by the stoning and stabbing to death of Gugu Dlamini after she had admitted on a Zulu language radio that she was HIV positive. He was born in Pretoria.


Cameron was educated at Pretoria Boys High School; Stellenbosch University (Anglo-American Corporation Open Scholarship, BA in Law "cum laude", BA Honours in Latin "cum laude", Lecturer in Latin and Classical Studies); the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholarship 1976,BA Honours First-class in Jurisprudence and Jurisprudence Prize, BCL Honours First-class and Vinerian Scholarship); and the University of South Africa (LLB "cum laude" and medallion for the best law graduate). He was called to the Bar of Johannesburg in 1983. He was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford in October 2003 and he was a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford 2003-4, researching 'Aspects of the AIDS Epidemic, examining in particular the denialist stance supported by SA President Mbeki'.

Legal career

From 1986 Cameron practised as a human rights lawyer at the University of the Witwatersrand's [http://www.law.wits.ac.za/cals/ Centre for Applied Legal Studies] (CALS), where in 1989 he was awarded a personal professorship in law. While at CALS, he co-drafted the Charter of Rights on AIDS and HIV, co-founded the AIDS Consortium and founded and was the first director of the AIDS Law Project.

He took silk in 1994. In October 1994 President Nelson Mandela appointed him an Acting Judge of the High Court to chair a Commission into illegal arms deals. He was appointed permanently to the High Court in 1995. In 1999/2000 he served for a year as an Acting Justice in the Constitutional Court before being appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Since 1998, he has chaired the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the Patron of the Guild Cottage Children's Home, of the Soweto HIV/AIDS Counsellors' Association (SOHACA) and of Community AIDS Response (CARE).

Cameron has co-authored a number of books, including "Defiant Desire – Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa" and "Honoré's South African Law of Trusts". He is the general secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships in Southern Africa (www.rhodestrust.org.za).

He has received many awards and distinctions. These include an Honorary Fellowship of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, London; the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2000); Stellenbosch University's Alumnus Award (2000), Transnet's HIV/AIDS Champions Award and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation Excellence in Leadership Award (2003). In 2002 the Bar of England and Wales honoured him with a Special Award for his contribution to international jurisprudence and human rights. In 2008 he served as a member of the Jury of the Red Ribbon Award, a partnership of the UNAIDS Family.


* Cameron, Edwin "Witness to AIDS", Tauris ISBN 1-84511-119-2
* Edwin Cameron's Website, [http://www.witnesstoaids.com Witness to Aids]

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