Freedom, dignity, equality in concrete

Usually most courts have formal Roman lettering that looks intimidating. The judges and the architects specifically did not want this. Chief Justice Chaskalson said to the architects that there are 11 judges and 11 official languages, so it should not only be his writing that appears on the concrete of the Court and it should not just be English that is represented.

It was decided that the words ‘human dignity’, ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ – which are the pillars of the Constitution – would appear in concrete in the official languages. Every judge chose a language and wrote those words in their own handwriting in concrete, thus achieving the personal touch the architects wanted.


Audio Visual

President Mandela gives his State of the Nation address in Parliament. Mandela ends his address with the words, “Let us all get down to work”.

“We must construct that people-centred society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political and the human rights of all our citizens.”– President Mandela, extract from State of the Nation Address, 24 May 1994

President Nelson Mandela announces his cabinet. It includes members of the African National Congress, National Party and Inkatha Freedom Party.

“There was pride in serving in the first democratic government in South Africa, and then the additional pride of serving under the iconic leadership of Nelson Mandela … [He] represented the hopes of not just our country, but of oppressed, marginalised and the poor in the world.”– Jay Naidoo, then Minister of RDP housing
“We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.”– President Nelson Mandela, 10 May 1994