A trip to Johannesburg will not be complete without a visit to Constitution Hill: it is one of South Africa’s most important heritage sites and nowhere can the story of South Africa’s turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy be told as it is at Constitution Hill.
Taking a tour of the Constitutional Court, the Number Four Prison and the Women’s Gaol offers visitors who are interested in the modern South African story an important understanding of the legal and historical ramifications of the struggle.
Constitution Hill is perched up on a hill overlooking the busy city of Johannesburg and the fostered suburbs. This historical site provides a unique perspective of Jozi and its rich history.
The Old Fort dates back to 1892 and was declared a National Monument in 1964 even though it functioned as a prison until 1987. In the mid 1990’s it was chosen as the site of the new Constitutional Court.
The site is home to the Constitutional Court, Women’s Gaol museum, Number Four museum, and Old Fort museum and they offer a variety of tours to each of these venues.
Browse the permanent exhibitions and get a better understanding of the daily life of a prisoner like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi and even Daisy De Melker. They also run temporary exhibitions and you can check their website to find out what is currently being exhibited.
The Constitutional Court boasts beautiful and haunting art by South African artists and it would be wise to set some time aside to browse and reflect.
Old Fort Ramparts
The Old Fort Parade Ground is surrounded by the Ramparts, which is one of my favourite spots in Johannesburg. By climbing a few stairs, you are rewarded by this breathtaking view of the city. It is also very quite up there and as you walk along the path you are able to take in the contrast of the concrete jungle, the prison, the court and the leafy suburbs beyond.
Constitution Hill boasts a great coffee shop called The Hill. I have written about it before and you can read about it here.
11 Kotze Street, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 11 381 3100