What to expect
Constitution Hill is a fusion of history, architecture and art. It is a site that reflects a profound sense of humanity, activism and a deep yearning for justice. The intersection of law and art on the Hill is a stunning expression of citizenry and constitutionalism. The Hill is also a platform for artists, lawyers and activists across the spectrum who are driven and inspired by the creative transformation of South Africa.
Constitution Hill as a space is an example on how to truly decolonize a space and to creatively transform pain into courage. Constitution Hill is a site of a very dark history of oppression and brutality. It was once a fort and a military defence post during the South African War (1899-1902) and a place that was notorious for its harsh treatment of prisoners. The site housed three notorious prisons: the Fort, where white inmates were kept; Section 4 and Section 5, the “natives’ jail”, built in 1902, and the women’s jail, added in 1909. Many struggle heroes passed through the doors of the Old Fort. The prison is also the only one in the world to have imprisoned two Nobel Peace Prize laureates – Nelson Mandela and Albert Luthuli. It is also the only prison in the world to have been transformed into a Court built for the purpose of defending human rights.
I served as a law clerk at the Constitutional Court. It was a significant time in my career because not only did I leave the court a better lawyer, but also a proud South African. The court offered me, and still does, an emotional sanctuary. It is where I found solace and chose to pay my last respects to former president Nelson Mandela after he passed away because the court symbolises the ideals he and the collective citizenry fought for. I am passionate about sharing my insights on the Constitutional Court’s work and how it has worked to secure the human rights of many marginalised South Africans. I am also passionate about the Court’s over four hundred artworks which provide a visual interface for the public entering the highest court in the country. The selected artwork allows stories of the past to be told in a way that crosses gender, racial, age and class boundaries as a unique and eclectic visual expression of humanity by internationally acclaimed artists such as Dumile Feni, William Kentridge, Judith Mason and many more.
What you’ll need
Camera, comfortable walking shoes.
Where we’ll be
This tour leaves daily at 11 am and finishes at 1pm . Booking essential
About your host
Lwanda XasoLwando Xaso obtained her law degree from, the University of Johannesburg. She started her articles and practised at Norton Rose Fulbright until 2009. She then pursued a Masters in constitutional and administrative law at the University of Cape Town where she also worked as a researcher. In 2011 she had the privilege of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron. In 2012 she was awarded the Franklin Thomas Fellowship by the Constitutional Court Trust to study at the University of Notre Dame where, in 2013 she received an LLM in international law.
She contributed to the book One Law One Nation and frequently writes on topics of constitutional and international law for the Sunday Independent and various other publications. In 2013 she worked as a senior researcher for the Public Service Remuneration Review Commission tasked with the transformation of the public service and was also a researcher to former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo. Currently she is a senior associate at ENS and also works for the Constitution Hill Trust as projector implementer focusing primarily on projects such as the Museum of the Constitution which is under development
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