The Constitution Hill Precinct has a very turbulent history, dating back to 1892 when the Old Fort was built under the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek and functioned as a prison. Various buildings were added to the Fort complex, namely the Natives’ section and isolation cells known as Sections Four and Five, where black male prisoners were held, as well as a Women’s Prison and an Awaiting Trial building. These buildings were notorious for the harsh treatment of prisoners: who ranged from common criminals to ordinary men and women who contravened colonial and apartheid legislation. Many political prisoners were also incarcerated at the Fort, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.
Constitution Hill believes in offering an informed and engaging experience related to Constitutionalism, Human Rights and Democracy. The museum offers a first hand experience of the cells, including exhibitions and guided tours that aid historical understanding. Permanent exhibitions include Nelson Mandela Exhibition: Prisoner in a Garden, an exhibition that documents the time that Mandela spent at Robben Island as well as the Old Fort, and Mahatma Gandhi – Prisoner of Conscience, an exhibition which commemorates the life of Gandhi and touches on his experiences while in prison. Number Four and Women’s Gaol.
The museum also hosts talks, book launches, workshops and other educational events.
Venue: Constitution Hill, Joubert St, Johannesburg
Time: Mon to Fri 9am – 5pm | Sat & Sun 10am – 3pm
Cost: Adults R 55 | Students, pensioners & children R 15