Constitution Hill

The Old Fort in Kotze Street, Braamfontein is being turned into the permanent home of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The ten hectare historical and heritage site is being developed into Constitution Hill, a symbol of the South Africa's regeneration, and due to become a world-class tourist attraction. The Constitution is at the centre of South Africa's transition to democracy, and is guarded by the Constitutional Court, under Judge President Albie Sachs.

The Fort, the Native Gaol, and the Women's Gaol are now being incorporated into the landmark complex, including buildings to house constitutional commissions (such as the Gender Commission), museums, archives and libraries with cultural and economic significance. Hotel, conference centres, restaurants, and recreation facilities will also be included. Constitution Hill is meant to be accessible to everyone, linking Hillbrow to Braamfontein (Johannesburg's civic, cultural, and academic centre).

The Native Gaol, better known as the notorious and dreaded No.4, previously housed such prominent people as Mahatma Gandhi, and Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Chief Albert Luthuli. It closed its doors in 1983, and has remained largely derelict ever since. However, it will be kept intact as a vital heritage component of Constitution Hill. It is the dark heart of the precinct, and will provide visitors with a profoundly moving sense of what prison life must have been like.

The precinct has been opened to the public even though it is still very much under construction. For information on tours, phone the numbers listed below.

Address: Kotze Street, Braamfontein
Hours: Monday to Friday: during working hours
Phone: 011-688-7856 (Tshepo Nkosi) or 083-296-1093 (Lucy Kaplan)
Phone (Johannesburg Development Agency): 011-688-7853
Cost: The tour of the building costs R?? per person.
Refreshments: Available nearby

Copyright © 2003, Rodney Jones,, Randburg, South Africa (Last updated on 16 February 2003)