Constitution Hill will provide free admission and tours on Human Rights Day, March 21.
Visitors to the museum will be able to join a guided tour, or explore the museum on their own. The site, which is the home to the Constitutional Court, also houses the notorious Number 4 prison, the Old Fort prison, and the Women’s Gaol, and visitors will get the opportunity to walk through the three prison sections, as well as view permanent exhibitions such as the Mahatma Gandhi exhibition and the Nelson Mandela ‘Prisoner in a Garden’ exhibition.
Jeanny Morulane, a spokesperson for Constitution Hill, says this is a great opportunity for families to embark on an educational tour, which will provide a greater understanding of South Africa’s past and constitutional democracy.
Human Rights Day marks one of South Africa’s greatest tragedies – the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, during which 69 people were killed when police opened fire on people protesting against laws requiring black people to carry pass (identity) documents. Robert Sobukwe, leader of the Pan-Africanist Congress, and many other anti-pass campaigners were arrested and imprisoned at Number 4 and the Women’s Jail.
Forty four years later, on March 21, 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, with the exhibition spaces and the visitor experience finalised, Constitution Hill – a site dedicated to honouring heritage, educating the public and encouraging tourism – was opened to the public.