From the bus.
University of Witwatersrand has a very nice campus.
Constitution Hill, the “Old Fort” and prisons. Originally built as a fort by former President Paul Kruger to protect the city of Johannesburg, it was later turned into a prison. The exhibits drove home the point that the injustice of apartheid was deeply present in the criminal justice system. Conditions for black women and men were abhorrent, and black guards were also treated very poorly “almost as prisoners themselves.”
Inside the highest court in the land we got to hear from a clerk of one of the judges. She said the types of cases the court hears are all related to Constitutional issues, but what that looks like has changed over the years. At first, when the court was created at the end of apartheid when a new constitution was written, they heard cases about protecting fundamental rights. Since the 2010s, they’ve heard more cases about socioeconomic rights – fulfillment of rights to water, sanitation, electricity, etc. Now, more recently, political parties are using the court to do “constitutional warfare.” The Court played a role in pushing out former president Jacob Zuma, but has also been under investigation itself – or at least, the board that appoints judges to the court, the Judicial Service Commission. The clerk said there is certainly a need for more transparency across government in South Africa.
Photo credit: some of these images with were taken by one of my fellow travelers, Hank Klibanoff. Thank you!