Many tongues and places
There are some many quirky things about South Africa that make such interesting reading. This is a country of 11 official languages and 3 capitals.
The 3 capitals part was one that really surprised me, because all the while I thought Pretoria was the only capital of South Africa. As it transpires, the administration consisting of the President and the cabinet, mainly the executive sits in Pretoria, the legislature sits in Cape Town and the judiciary sits in Bloemfontein.
Yet, the Constitutional Court of South Africa is based in Johannesburg and this is where the Chief Justice of South Africa sits, whilst this court only is superior to the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa based in Bloemfontein, the Constitutional Court only adjudicates on constitutional matters, the highest court for non-constitutional matters is the Supreme Court.
On a plain of old pains
The Constitutional Court is located at Constitution Hill built with bricks of a demolished awaiting trial wing of a former prison on the grounds of the Old Fort Prison complex that included a women’s goal, a white’s only prison that once admitted Nelson Mandela to its hospital wing and Number Four.
What happened there is best read in the words of those were inmates of Number Four. An eerie calmness settles on you as you climb up to walk the perimeter dyke fence wall of the fort which gives you views of a dangerous inner-city neighbourhood of Braamfontein and Hillbrow that my hostess said whites will rarely venture into and further afield are the richer suburbs of Johannesburg.
Looking towards a new future
The façade of the court has the name of court in the 11 official languages in colourful type and this overlooks the Eternal Flame of Democracy, which was lit on the commemoration of 15 years of the South African constitution.
Having left the Apartheid Museum and stopped off at Constitution Hill, this place merged history, the present and the future in one single of narrative of where injustice dehumanised and justice began to humanise giving hope to a greater and thriving unity of the good of humanity.
South Africa has a long journey ahead, I can see some strong foundations being laid, and some other structures need to be jettisoned, but process will never been stopped in its tracks, the future is coming, the future is upon us.