Professor Willem Adolf Joubert is regarded as the “father” of Unisa’s Faculty of Law. He also founded Unisa’s Institute of Foreign and Comparative Law (IFCOL).
Previously a dean at the University of the Orange Free State, Professor Joubert arrived at Unisa in 1960 and swiftly began to transform the law faculty. He expanded the curriculum and the law library, launched new journals and founded IFCOL, among other enduring achievements. His legacy has continued to foster many of South Africa’s finest legal minds. Though a fervent Afrikaner nationalist in his youth, Joubert’s political views became increasingly liberal, and in 1977, he became a founder member of the Progressive Federal Party. During the Delmas Treason Trial (1985–1988), he made headlines as “The Dissenting Professor”, having been dismissed as a trial assessor on the grounds that he had once signed an anti-apartheid petition. He was also a leading member of South Africa’s Society for the Abolition of the Death Penalty.