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Our Constitution Explained

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is the foundation of our democracy. It provides a historic bridge between the past of a deeply divided and oppressive society, and a future founded on the recognition of human rights. It defines our collective dreams and aspirations, and is a roadmap for how our country should be governed.

Scroll through each section to understand the document’s architecture and some of its unique features.

UNPACK THE CONSTITUTION

The Constitution in
your Language

The Preamble
line-by-line

The Founding
Provisions

Fourteen
Chapters

Journey To The Bill Of Rights

The Role of the
Bill of Rights

Twenty-Seven Rights
Explained

DID YOU KNOW?

DID YOU KNOW?
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EXPLORE
DID YOU KNOW?
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EXPLORE
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AUDIO VISUAL

EXPLORE THE ARCHIVE

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