Our Struggle, our Constitution, our freedom

Discover the known and unknown stories of the making and working of the South African Constitution and its role today.


Few know the challenges behind the birthing of South Africa’s democracy; of the battles that took place on our streets to end apartheid; of the intense period of negotiations to enable a country of despair to become a country of hope.


Political activists, drafters of the constitution and the judges of the Constitutional Court recount the constitution-making process.


The stories told here are uniquely supported by rich archival materials from the constitution-making process.

The Story of the Constitution

South Africa’s first democratic Parliament served as a Constitutional Assembly to write our founding document. In the end, the two-year process was a race to the finish line.

The Constitution Explained

Explore our country’s roadmap – its preamble, values, structure and unique features.


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