Constitution Hill Museum

The Constitution hill museum Image source

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.

Constitution Hill is the site of Johannesburg's notorious Old Fort prison complex, has now become a major tourist attraction. Some of the now famous inmates were: Nelson Mandela; Mahatma Gandhi; Joe Slovo; Albertina Sisulu; Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Fatima Meer. They all served time here.

But the precinct also confined tens of thousands of ordinary people during its 100-year history: men and women of all races, creeds, ages and political agendas; children too; the everyman and the elite. In this way, the history of every South African lives here. Prime attractions include the Old Fort; Number Four, the infamous black men's prison; and the adjacent Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country. Here visitors can attend hearings and view an impressive art collection. The old prison cells have been converted into an interactive museum with a state-of-the-art audiovisual system that shows footage of former prisoners recounting their experiences. Photographs and prison artefacts - including recreations of the blanket and soap sculptures made by the inmates - help capture the rich heritage of the site.

Google map: 

Last updated : 06-Jul-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 14-Jul-2011