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If one were to measure a society’s health by its historical environment, then something can indeed be said of South Africa. This nation is known for its long abhorrent history with apartheid entrenched with a political and human rights struggle. In 1995, the world witnessed the evisceration of apartheid and the birth of a new democratic South Africa. In light of the struggle endured by a visible portion of the South African population, a question asked is, what about the forgotten and somewhat invisible individuals, those who suffer with mental illness. The purpose ­of this work is to discuss South Africa’s mental health legislation, namely Mental Health Care Act, No. 17 [MHCA 2002], and conduct a comparative study with the African Banjul Charter, the UN Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness [MI Principles], and the World Health Organization Principles.


Winner of the National Law Review Fall 2010 Law Student Writing contest.