Albie Sach's career in human rights activism started at the age of seventeen, when as a second year law student at the University of Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. In 1966, he was forced into exile. After spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England, he worked for a further eleven years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. In 1988, he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents, losing an arm and the sight in one eye.
After recovering from the attack, Justice Sachs devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. In 1990, he returned home and, as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC, took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994, he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court.