South Africa

Maverick Citizen Op-ed

Artists’ take on Bill of Rights marks 24th anniversary of the Constitution

A collection of some of the postcards. Photo supplied.

The illustrations appear on 27 limited-edition postcards to mark the moment the Constitution was signed into law by Nelson Mandela on 10 December 1996.

At Constitution Hill our faith in what the Constitution can do when used by people remains steadfast. 

In celebration of our Constitution we have produced 27 limited-edition postcards bearing its preamble and an illustration of each of the rights in the Bill of Rights by the brilliantly talented young South African illustrators Sindiso Nyoni, Balekane Legoabe, Nina Torr, Ndumiso Nyoni, Octavia Roodt, Zinhle Zulu and Khayalethu Mtshali. 

The artworks were developed for our online exhibition on the making of the Constitution, Our Struggle, Our Freedom, Our Constitution. We spent months working with the illustrators to interpret each right as they saw it creatively and to convey their meaning considering the struggle behind them.

The exhibition also conveys that the Bill of Rights does not have a hierarchy of rights. No one right is more important than the other, but all 27 can be seen as part of a constellation of interconnected rights. To learn more about each right visit our exhibition here.

The preamble, which is printed in the official Face of the Nation font of the Constitutional Court, articulates the vision of a transformed South Africa we should all be working to achieve. The preamble is our North Star and if we strive to live up to its ideals we will make the Constitution more than words on parchment. It will be our lived reality. To learn more about the battle behind each word of the preamble go here.

You can also follow 24 key moments in the journey of the making of the Constitution on these social media platforms:

We invite the public to collect these keepsake artworks in this weekend’s Daily Maverick 168 at selected Pick n Pay stores.

They will also be available at Constitution Hill where, as part of the commemoration, entry will be free from 10 December 2020 until 10 January 2021. Due to Covid-19 protocols people are encouraged to book through Webtickets here or email [email protected]

Please share the postcards on social media, along with what the Constitution means to you, with the hashtags #ourconstitution24 and #wethepeopleSA. Tag the platforms above.

When the Constitution was adopted in 1996 it was declared the birth certificate of the nation and the people who drafted it were proclaimed the midwives who had birthed a new era in our country’s life. The struggle is not over. After 24 years we have perspective on where we have squandered opportunities to change our country for the better. But we also celebrate how ordinary citizens have invoked the values of the Constitution to defend our country and to change their lives.

We are united in our diversity. DM/MC

Vanessa September is CEO of the Constitution Hill Trust.


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