Born on 3 March 1948, Judge Zacharia Mohammed Yacoob became blind at 16 months as a result of meningitis. He studied law at the University of Durban-Westville (now incorporated into the University of kwaZulu-Natal) and was called to the bar as advocate by the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court in March 1972.
He held numerous positions with different institutions over the years, and in February 1998 he joined the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Fiercely opposing apartheid, Judge Yacoob was a member of the Natal Indian Congress, the Durban Housing Action Committee, the Durban Detainees’ Support committee and the underground structures of the ANC. He is still involved in the activities of the Natal Indian Blind and Deaf Society and the South African National Council for the Blind, having been elected chairperson in 2001 and re-elected in 2003.