"The tree protects the people, and the people protect the tree.

In South Africa, justice has traditionally taken place under a tree."

- Albie Sachs

This fundraising prospectus invites you to participate in the development of the institutional capacity of the Constitution Hill Trust; in sustaining and managing the online exhibition and archive that tells the story of the remarkable constitution-making process; and in amplifying and disseminating our work through educational programmes, debate and dialogue both online and at Constitution Hill.  









Constitution Hill


Constitution Hill is an extraordinary and world-renowned site of memory and conscience. Formerly a site of prisons where many of our great leaders were incarcerated, today it has been transformed into a beacon of light for democracy and social justice. The Constitution Hill is the home of the Constitution and the Constitution Court of South Africa. The Court is renowned inside South Africa and abroad for its landmark decisions on issues of human rights and social justice.




As a campus of democracy, tenants such as NGOs and Chapter Nine organisations (set up by the Constitution as further protectors of our democracy), can participate in the positive, optimistic energy that abounds at Constitution Hill.

Constitution Hill is:

a site for social justice, dialogue, debate and contestation


A cluster of museums and archives dedicated to telling the stories of South Africa’s past, present and future


a hub of creativity, art and celebration


“It is said in the USA, that no child should finish school without having visited Capitol Hill if they wish to understand their country. The same should be true of Constitution Hill in South Africa. It is a place where the issues concerning past, present and future come to life and where school children can walk the pathways from injustice to justice in order to deeply understand the nature of our society.”

-  Cheryl Carolus, Chair of the CHT

The South African Constitution


 For millions of people, the Constitution is a reminder of what we believed, what we sacrificed for and what we achieved. As the founding document that underpins our democratic values and principles, it is beyond contestation.


While political parties jostle for power and compete over their ideals, all seek to promote the constitution as the unifier of our nation. The Bill of Rights has been celebrated as the most advanced in the world and as the most visible symbol of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy.


“Education about the Constitution has the capacity to transform a society and conversely, if neglected, can result in the continued neglect of human rights … Even a society with the most powerful legal system is powerless if its citizenry is not aware of its entitlements in terms of the Constitution.”

-  Sisi Khampepe, Justice of the Constitutional Court



The Constitution Hill Trust (CHT) 


The CHT was established in 2006 by the late Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and the now President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure that the Constitution is not just words on a page and to develop the heritage site of Constitution Hill, the home of the Constitution. Since its inception, the CHT has worked to ensure that the vision embodied in the Constitution is real for all people through educational programmes, books and exhibitions.


CHT believes in creating a country and a society where civically engaged and knowledgeable people locate themselves in the historical context of South Africa’s constitution-making and in its application as a tool for change. A democracy is stronger and more effective with informed citizens who are active and participate in constructive debates on the most pressing issues of the time.


“To build trust in constitutional democracy.”





To secure the preservation and development of CH as a beacon for the world and a heritage site symbolising South Africa’s constitutional democracy.


To make provision for educational programmes to be conducted at, or in respect of CH for the purpose of educating South Africans on constitutionalism, human rights, and democracy; and thereby to promote respect for constitutionalism, democracy, and human rights.


To raise funds in South Africa and outside its borders for the Trust and other public benefit organisations.


To share with the world lessons that can be learnt from South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

Why Now?

It is especially important at this time where globally democracy is under threat from many quarters, to share our constitution to inspire hope for new generations of South Africans and people throughout the world. Nearly two and a half decades into our democracy, there are still high levels of constitutional illiteracy amongst many people living in South Africa. A small percentage of South Africans have ever read the Constitution or had it read to them.


Over the last eighteen months, the trust has grown substantially at both the staff and board levels. The leadership team led by Cheryl Carolus and including Adila Hassim, Albie Sachs, Donné Nicol, Joyce Seroke, Khumo Shuenyane, Michael Katz, Robbie Brozin, and Leon Wessels recognised an opportunity to grow our work in promoting constitutionalism as well as guide the development of Constitution Hill over the next five years.


Toward this aim, the CHT, formed a creative team to collect, collate and curate from archival documents an exhibition to tell the known and unknown stories of the making of the Constitution and the Constitutional Court.

At the beginning of 2020, the Trust appointed a new CEO, Vanessa September to drive forward the expanded vision, and develop strong partnerships with like-minded organisations.


Why The CHT?

CHT is well positioned to lead the effort to increase awareness of South Africa’s journey to democracy, by gathering, interpreting and communicating information about the significance of social justice.

As an independent trust and non-for-profit organization, with its dynamic and independent board, and in collaboration with its partners, it is well placed to ensure the ongoing development and sustainability of this initiative.


The Constitution Hill Trust (CHT) operates in close association with Constitution Hill which greatly augments the Trust’s reach and amplifies its messages. [CH is managed by the Constitution Hill Development Company (CHDC) which is owned by the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency. CHDC’s objective is to spearhead and coordinate development at this multipurpose site, which in addition to housing the Constitutional Court, museums, archives and conference spaces, also incorporates office space for a number of strategically selected tenants such as non-governmental organisations, Chapter Nine Institutions, Social Justice organisations and and organisations that are active in the human rights space.


The Trust also works in close collaboration with the Albie Sachs Constitutionalism and Rule of Law Trust and other organisations that share in our vision and values. This also makes it uniquely placed to drive our programmes and messages forward.

These factors have prepared us to take our work to the next level and extend our partnership and support network.


Our Request

The following four areas are where focusing and would like to develop and sustain going forward:

1. Institutional


  • Provide institutional structures to ensure sustainability and extend our operational capacity

  • Make provision for programmes to train young archivist and curators

2. Building Content


  • Maintaining and further developing the website

  • Ensuring that the digital archival records are loaded onto the digital portal 

  • Augment and maintain and secure the materials 

3. Amplify and Disseminate

  • Develop education programmes and opportunities for dialogue and debate through a variety of projects

  • Implementing a marketing and communications plan to coordinate CH’s messaging

  • Identifying partnerships to advance our activities, policy and legislation

  • Engaging with policymakers so that they understand the critical role that CHT plays in creating an engaged, informed, and creative democracy. 

4. Support the Development


Working with Constitution Hill to advance the development of the site

We invite you to assist us in achieving our goals over the next five years so that we can secure the operations and deliver on the programmes.

What Are Our Current Activities?

CHT is well positioned to lead the effort to increase awareness of South Africa’s journey to democracy, by gathering, interpreting and communicating information about the significance of social justice.

As an independent trust and non-for-profit organization, with its dynamic and independent board, and in collaboration with its partners, it is well placed to ensure the ongoing development and sustainability of this initiative.


1. Institutional Planning


We have recently held a visioning workshop around our institutional arrangements. This was the first step in a larger process to determine what structure will best suit and facilitate our operations. A proposal on an institutional plan will be complete by December 2020.

2. Our Struggle Our Freedom Our Constitution 


The online exhibition has been a major initiative of the Trust over the past three years. Our Constitution – ourconstitution.constitutionhill.org.za – documents, preserves, and shares the known and unknown stories of the creation of the South African Constitution and the constitution-making process - so that we can all understand our past in order to secure a better future. As a virtual space and touchpoint for local and global publics, the site provides a central communications and knowledge portal for sharing basic information, provides educational experiences and downloadable apps, incorporates social media functionality, and hosts and serves multi-format primary source content from the continuously growing archive.


“I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who still think of our Constitution as I did (a bunch of rules that have no relevance to one’s everyday life), so if the site can help even one person see it as something that’s woven into all of our lives at even the smallest level - and importantly, also taps into the lives of those who came before us - then I’ll be happy.”

- Pola Manelli,

Illustrator of the animation series produced for the site

The Digital Archive


CHT staff and student volunteers review Constitutional Assembly records at the NARSSA, September 2018. The team went through 288 boxes over a period of five days.

This archive in-the-making forms a key part of the online exhibition. It is a gathering point for the collections drawn from the National Archive and Record Services of South Africa (NARSSA) and those of institutions and individuals who participated in critical historical events such the adoption of the Freedom Charter at Kliptown, the coming together of 19 parties at CODESA, the backroom workings of Constitutional Assembly and the debates and discussions over the establishment of the Constitutional Court.

Few know of the cut-and-thrust of the negotiations, the fierce debates that shaped specific paragraphs of the Constitution and the behind-the-scenes challenges that were overcome to allow a country of despair to become a country of hope.  It is our wish that learners, researchers, scholars and the broader society be challenged, moved, and profoundly enriched by visiting our collections. 


The documents lend texture, nuance, and depth to the intellectual, legal, and activist history that birthed and sustains our Constitution.  They also reflect more intimate accounts of how South Africans, past and present, confronted and challenged injustice in the arenas of law, family and community life, collective struggle, land, women’s issues, identity, creativity, and constitution-making.

The archive, together with the stories told on other sections of this virtual platform, will create a space for knowledge generation, learning, and engaging with the history and significance of the Constitution as a guidepost of South African democracy and how a country of despair became a country of hope. In combination, these activities will honour the past while ensuring the archive is a vital actor in contemporary spaces, debates and dialogues. The archive is freely available and accessible to all audiences. Through our We, the People projects, we will drive visitors to this site.

The We, the People Movement

WTP is a campaign to inspire a global movement of active citizens working for change - united in our diversity. WTP strives to animate the Constitution to help bridge the gap between the values and ideals of the Constitution and our lived reality, and to reaffirm and reignite the passion for South Africa’s constitutional values. Our aspiration is for all people to take ownership of the intent of the movement and to amplify it beyond Constitution Hill.

The WTP projects include:


  • We, the People t-shirt and merchandise

  • Designed Preamble Print

  • Ndlovu Choir Preamble rendition

  • Round table discussions

  • 12th Chair Project

  • Education Programmes – We work directly with teachers and learners in creative ways so that they can engage with our content and messages. For example, the Afrocuration events at Constitution Hill has learners and teachers engaged in created local content for WikiAfrica based on historical events related to constitution-making process.


The collective outcomes of the WTP programmes is to amplify and disseminate our messages, to encourage active citizenry and to drive people to our virtual programmes:


Benefits for Our Valued Supporters

We offer unique sponsorship opportunities. CHT works in close partnership to maximise the sponsorship, raising and enhancing your brand profile across key target demographics through a creative, targeted and integrated marketing and communications strategy, in addition to a tailored benefits package.

  • ​Two evening events on the site or conference facilities with a private view of any special exhibition or day tour of the site for up to 50 people.

  • One behind-the-scenes tour of the site in areas that are not open to the public.

  • Complimentary access to special paying exhibitions and festivals.

  • One talk in the workplace on Constitutional Democracy by a CHT board member.

  • 20 per cent discount off commercial hire costs on all conference and meeting facilities.

  • 10 per cent discount at the museum's shops, cafes and restaurant for staff.

  • Invitations to exclusive hosted events.

  • Framed and signed Preamble to the Constitution artwork.

  • 5 x Preamble to the Constitution Art books.



CHT’s programmes and initiatives present an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen its role as a bridge among communities of social justice organisations, educationalists and scholars. 

We wish to strengthen our country and society where civically engaged and knowledgeable people locate themselves in the historical context of our constitution-making process and become active citizens to face the challenges of today.