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JJohannesburg’s Constitution Hill remembers the horrors of the past, and yet embraces the promises of the future, marrying them with the reality of the present. It is home to the Constitutional Court, the birthplace of our democracy and protector of our human rights.
CConstitution Hill is a human rights precinct and a world-class heritage tourist attraction incorporating cultural, historical, artistic, educational and recreational spaces that celebrate South Africa's ability to negotiate a peaceful, miraculous democracy out of bloody oppression.
IIt is also the home of the South African Constitutional Court, which was opened in March 2004. It is located between the Braamfontein and Hillbrow precincts in Johannesburg and retains important national and international heritage buildings, including the Old Fort prison complex of Johannesburg, and the Women's Goal.
With its four lookout towers, the Old Fort was once a place of fear and hopelessness. Built by the Transvaal government in 1899 as a bulwark to protect the city against the advancing British during the Anglo-Boer War, it was converted in 1904 into a jail that for most of the century would house a variety of prisoners of all races.
But it was made infamous as the prison where political prisoners were sent, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, which led to it being dubbed the Robben Island of Johannesburg. This is why it occupies such an indelible place in the consciousness of the nation.
The museum section of Constitution Hill includes the Mandela Cell, which features a documentary of his incarceration and emotional return 40 years later.
Bricks from portions of the Old Fort that were demolished were used for the construction of the inner walls of the South African Constitutional Court. This is in stark contrast to the vibrant African art exhibited in the ultra-modern building.
The complex includes a coffee shop, bookshop, tourism office and exhibition spaces. Future plans include a hotel, a visitor's centre, a Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory, and various retail outlets.
Aside from guided tours to some of the highlights, Constitution Hill also has meeting, banqueting and conferencing venues on offer and frequently hosts discussions and events focusing on human rights.
Paul Kruger Street Synagogue, the first synagogue to be constructed in Pretoria, was expropriated by the government in 1952 and converted into a special Supreme Court.
Pretoria Central Prison is arguably the most infamous prison where Mandela was held before he was transferred to Robben Island.
The FNB Stadium continues to be the preferred platform of choice for the Soweto Derby featuring Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Mandela House in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, is now a small but interesting museum where you can learn more about Nelson Mandela's life.
Dr. A.B. Xuma’s house in Sophiatown tells the story of a way of life during apartheid.
Emirates Airline Park played a significant role in South African sporting history, after hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.
National Archives and Records Service of South Africa - the Reading Room is open for public use and is free of charge.
The Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility gallows is now a museum. It memorialises the 3500 souls who lost their lives here.
Nelson Mandela’s memory lives on in a number of places in Gauteng where he spent his formative political years, opening a legal practice and starting to play a leading role in the Struggle against apartheid.