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All Rise: Tales of Human Rights & Wrongs by Roger Chennells is a humorous and humane retelling of a life dedicated to marginalised peoples. Chennells, a South African human rights lawyer and renowned conflict resolver, shares a vibrant blend of family anecdotes, legal drama, paranormal encounters, and suspenseful tales. The book's charm lies in the evocative descriptions of people he meets, from a dodgy dagga dealer to a spirited sangoma.

Chennells' storytelling prowess shines as he narrates rites of passage in Zululand and Eswatini, legal work for the Pitjantjatjara in Australia, the San in Southern Africa, and Jamaica’s Rastafarian community. The author appears in various guises—Rog, Mista Roger, Rogstafarian, and “Accused Number One.”

Close shaves and tense moments abound, such as facing the death penalty for treason in Swaziland, an airport felony, and a kangaroo barbecue tale. Despite these harrowing experiences, the book maintains a light-hearted tone with incidents like a bottle of beer exploding when ancestors are angered.

Chennells' landmark legal work, which includes representing the Rastafarians in Jamaica, the !Khomani San in South Africa, and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara in Australia, is a highlight. He helped the Bushmen formulate a historic land claim and mediated between the San and the political world, securing rights for rooibos and Hoodia plants.

Chennells writes with tenderness, respect, and a touch of humor about his adventures and misadventures. His tales offer insights into significant events that shaped South Africa and portray a lawyer with a heart of gold. All Rise is a collection of short stories filled with humor, humility, wit, and warmth.

This memoir is suitable for reading to children, enjoying before bedtime, or dipping into on a beach holiday. It’s a book that makes you proud to be South African and curious to learn more, regardless of your origins.

All Rise: Tales of Human Rights and Wrongs by Roger Chennells

SKU: 9780639770420
  • Roger Chennells has a B.Com degree from the University of Stellenbosch, a Master of Law from the LSE and a PhD from the University of Lancashire. 

    He has run his legal practise, Chennells Albertyn from Stellenbosch since 1980, specialising in labour, land, environmental and human rights law, with an overall emphasis on public interest law affecting rural communities, and indigenous communities in particular. 

    Over the last decade his primary interest has returned to the dilemmas and choices of Africa, both at a policy and at a practical level. The association between the customs, values and lore of traditional communities and a respectful honouring of the earth, a theme captured by the environmental philosophy known as “Earth Jurisprudence.” 

    Traditional knowledge systems, and their intrinsic values (including intellectual property) are continually undervalued in policy and deed. The fact that many African governments continue to ignore the wealth of wisdom and culture residing in their traditional communities, and continue to favour harmful extractive western economic modes, energises his current work and engagements. Roger lives in Somerset West with two border collies.

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