Once a place for the imprisonment of anti-apartheid activists, the building is now a peaceful refuge in the heart of the Joburg-based precinct. This interactive heritage facility celebrates the concept of lekgotla – to ponder and question.
A site of incarceration and abuse, of neglect and vandalism, of rebirth and democracy, Constitution Hill epitomises much of the trauma and joy that South Africa and her citizens have experienced.
This spirit of lekgotla will form the backdrop to our diverse literary and activations programme, our dynamic marketplace and our lively family zone, which will be housed here from 6 – 8 September 2019.
This new venue will bring #OURSTORIES to life and inspire a reading revolution for all South Africans.
1. Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort that bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past and, today, is home to the country’s Constitutional Court, which endorses the rights of all citizens.
2. There is perhaps no other site in South Africa that has held within it’s walls the sheer number of world-renowned men and women as those that were once incarcerated within the Old Fort, the Women’s Jail and the Number Four. Though the precinct confined tens of thousands of ordinary people during it’s 100-year history, some notable names include: Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Joe Slovo, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Fatima Meer.
3. On Human Rights Day, 21 March 2004, the Constitutional Court was inaugurated, during which 27 children born in 1994 – South Africa’s first year of democracy – recited the Bill of Rights in the country’s 11 official languages. The following day Constitution Hill was opened to the public, as a place relevant for current and future generations.
4. Honouring heritage and the men and women of all races, creeds, ages and political agendas; the indigenous and the immigrant; the everyman and the elite, the site is dedicated to honouring #OURSTORIES through educating the public with a multitude of exhibition spaces and visitor experiences ensuring that the history of every South African lives here.
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