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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.
There is perhaps no other site of incarceration in South Africa that imprisoned the sheer number of world-renowned men and women as those held within the walls of the Old Fort, the Women's Jail and Number Four. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi. Joe Slovo. Albertina Sisulu. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Fatima Meer.
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Experience the whole of Constitution Hill – the Old Fort, the Women`s Jail, Number Four and the Constitutional Court – on our full, two-hour tour.
This holistic tour comes to the heart of what Constitution Hill is all about, exploring the precinct’s complex history, its mutations through time, the humiliations and injustices to which its inmates were subjected, and offering an explanation as to why the court’s presence in this place is so meaningful.
Our highlights tour is an hour long and alternates each hour, visiting the Women`s Jail, Number Four and the Constitutional Court one hour, and the Old Fort, Number Four and the Constitutional Court the next.
This tour is particularly useful for organised tours, visitors arriving on the City Sightseeing red bus and those with limited time. After the tour, you are welcome to explore the rest of the precinct on your own.
The Constitutional Court Trust owns and maintains an extraordinary collection of artworks donated by prominent artists and other benefactors to celebrate the court’s role in South Africa`s transition to democracy.
The collection was primarily assembled by Justice Albie Sachs. It includes artworks by such high-profile artists. a. The collection is more than an aesthetic addition to the Constitutional Court building, it is a unique collection of South African and international heritage that contributes to education, critical debate and research on the roles of the Constitution and the court.The tour begins at 6pm at the main entrance to the court and lasts for approximately 90 mins
South Africa`s Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, is a building rich in symbolism. Every aspect of its design was carefully considered and crafted in line with the theme of lekgotla, which refers to the traditional African custom of conducting justice beneath the branches of a tree.
The tour begins with the story behind the now-demolished Awaiting Trial Block, the bricks of which were used to build the court, before moving into the court foyer and finally into the court chamber itself.
The Constitutional Court Tour is conducted by an expert, who will discuss the importance of the court in South Africa’s constitutional dispensation and the significance of the building`s ar
Nowhere can the story of South Africa`s turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy be told as it is at Constitution Hill. In 1995, the historic decision was taken to locate the Constitutional Court of South Africa in Johannesburg’s oldest prison site in the inner city of Johannesburg. The four separate prisons on the site are over 100 years old. They were places of horrific degradation and torture which imprisoned political prisoners but mainly thousands of ordinary black South Africans whose only crime was disobeying one of the many discriminatory laws of the day. The site provides the opportunity for learners to gain an understanding of how colonialism and apartheid was.
The story of the site comes alive through our self-guided tours where one can explore the entire site at their own leisure. For the best experience, one can make use of the of the Constitution Hill App (please inquire at the ticket office) to navigate their way around. On the self-guided tour, ones explores the Women’s Gaol, the Old Fort, No 4 Prison and the Constitutional Court. The time constraints do not apply here as guests adhere to their own time schedules and tours are available from 09h00 – 15h00.