Help us to
tell our story

Memories and Memorabilia

We believe that every one of us is a history-maker, archivist and storyteller. In this spirit, we are requesting materials from you that will enliven and develop the story of our country that is presented here. 

People like Cheryl Carolus, Barbara Masekela, Hassen Ebrahim, Yvonne Mokgoro and Johann Kriegler have told us where they were at significant moments in our history. 

Add your voice to the country’s story and tell us what you were doing during some of the most momentous events in our recent history. 

We are asking you

to send us any anecdotes, photos and objects connected to the events on this website – or indeed ones that you think should be told and are not included. Your contributions will fuel our mission to:

Ensure that our telling of history is inclusive and community orientated and that all groups in South Africa are represented, especially those that have been marginalised. 

Recognise and value the rich diversity of this country. 

Educate the nation and the rest of the world about our Constitution. Our work will encourage every person to understand the story of our constitutional democracy in a new way and to fight for the values that it enshrines.

Build our physical museum that will be the home for the stories of our unique ‘negotiated revolution’, as well as the base for the We, the People Movement.

What are we looking for?






For more detail on what our archivists are looking for…

Here are some ideas of what we would like you to send to us. Every ‘game-changer object’, be it photos, documents or objects will be displayed under our Story of the Day along with the story behind the object. We may ask to acquire some of the objects so that they can physically be displayed at the new museum that is being built at Constitution Hill. We are interested in objects and stories along the following themes: 

The law – How did the unjust laws promulgated under colonial and apartheid governments impact on people’s daily lives? (Objects here might include passbooks, banning orders, restrictions, housing permits, identity documents, etc.)

Family and community life – How did apartheid impact on families and communities and how did they resist the law? (Objects here might include family photos of ordinary life or special occasions as well as unique objects.)

Collective struggle – How did political and community groups resist the laws? (Objects here might include struggle posters, organisational charters, memorabilia, T-shirts and letters.)

The struggle against apartheid – Objects, documents, or photos that resonate an important moment in the anti-apartheid struggle.

Worker’s struggle – What was the contribution of the union movement to the struggle for democracy? (Objects here might include those associated with shop steward and worker responsibility.)

Land What expresses people’s attachment to the land and also addresses forced removals and dislocation? (Objects here might include title deeds, notices of evictions and house permits.)

Women’s issues What is peculiar to women’s experiences under apartheid and in the struggle? (Objects here might include women’s passes, documents, and photos of specific women’s organisations.)

Religion and spirituality What role did organised religion play in the social and political experiences of black people? (Objects here might include the Bible in different languages, religious dress and ritual objects.)

Left-wing Afrikaners – What was the contribution of Afrikaners to the struggle? (Objects here might include those that talk about social cohesion across the divides in the white community.)

Constitution-making until 1990 – What are the specific turning points in the making of our Constitution? (Objects here might relate to key moments such as the 1923 Bill of Rights; 1943 African Claims; 1955 Freedom Charter; 1989 Harare Declaration; as well as the texts, documents, books and commentaries of the racist constitutions of SA.)

The negotiations – Keepsakes of any kind from the tumultuous and challenging moments during the negotiations for a democratic country and the first democratic elections.

Constitution-making from 1990 onwards – What documents or objects do you have that speak to the adoption of the final Constitution? (Objects here might include film, radio, party political, photographic, and especially oral histories about the behind-the-scenes interactions during CODESA and CA.)

The Constitutional Court – Any material related to the many cases that have been heard before the Constitutional Court since its inauguration in 1995. 

The Constitutional Assembly – Materials related to the writing of the final Constitution between May 1994 and May 1996. 

Contemporary struggles for democracy – Documents around the constitutional struggles in contemporary South Africa from 1994 onwards focusing on key events such as the Marikana massacre and the Life Esidimeni tragedy. They can be happy or sad, ordinary or inspirational, surprising or predictable. 


Below are some examples of the treasures that have been given to us so far:

How to send to us

Fill out the following form with your details. You can upload your document, photo, or object at the bottom of the form. 


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