Constitution Hill is a hidden treasure in the heart of Johannesburg. It is a precinct that contains so much South African History. Constitution hill is a human rights memorial and a world-class heritage tourist attraction. Its a wonderful day out for the whole family. Located between the Braamfontein and Hillbrow in Johannesburg and retains important national and international heritage buildings, including the Old Fort prison complex of Johannesburg, and the Women’s Goal.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa
It is the home of the South African Constitutional Court, which was opened in March 2004. This court is highest court in the country. The architecture is incredible as it combines the old with the new, as to not forget where we came form not where we are going. The front door contains the bill of rights in al 12 official languages. The foyer is home to an amazing art collection by some of South Africa’s most renowned artists, you will also find works by Marc Chagall.
The Old Fort and Woman’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. 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 Hill Cafe, Free to Stay
The Free to Stay project is managed Adriaan Naidoo and is found in the Old Fort complex. After your busy day it’s the perfect place to have a coffee and some lunch. The Hill Cafe forms part of a community upliftment scheme called the Awethu Foundation which sets out to give young South African Entrepreneur a solid foundation to build businesses which better the communities around them. This is evident in The Hill Cafe sourcing all of it’s fresh produce from markets in the city as well as from rooftop gardens in the nearby hostels.
The aim of the cafe is to be a place which not only serves great food but also provides people in the community with a stable income and new skills.
The menu features South African classics, such as Lamb Bunny Chow which is served in a locally made brioche. For breakfast, be sure to try their Eggs Benedict with tomatoes – it might be a little different to what you’re expecting but it is definitely worth a try with a cup of their delicious strong coffee. For dessert, you must try the Oreo Milkshake, it’s thick and creamy and WAY better than a McFlurry – and your money is going back to the community making it a win-win.