Perhaps nowhere is South Africa’s transition to democracy more vividly apparent than on Constitution Hill. For over a hundred years, buildings here functioned as a much-feared prison complex, holding everyone from common criminals to activists Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, even Winston Churchill (briefly) during the Boer War.
Since 2004, this site has been home to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, partially built with bricks from one of the old prison buildings, complemented with lighter contemporary elements. Visitors can see the court in session after a tour which takes in Mandela’s cell as well as a permanent exhibition dedicated to Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent protest.
Constitution Hill is in Johannesburg’s north, in an area bounded by Kotze, Joubert, Hospital and Sam Constitution Hill is in Johannesburg’s north, in an area bounded by Kotze, Joubert, Hospital and Sam Hancock Streets. The parts of the complex open to visitors include the Old Fort, Women’s Prison, “Number Four” prison and the Constitutional Court.