What would the judges wear?

Dikgang Moseneke, then Deputy Chief Justice, wearing the specially designed green robe with red and black trim. Lwando Xaso

The 11 Justices of the Constitutional Court. Back row, left to right: Justice Madala, Justice Sachs, Justice Ackermann, Justice Yacoob (appointed 1998), Justice O’Regan, Justice Ngcobo (appointed in 1999), Justice Goldstone. Front Row, left to right: Justice Kriegler, Deputy Chief Justice Langa, Chief Justice Chaskalson, Justice Mokgoro. Giselle Wulfsohn

The idea of green robes came about with red and black trim. Green the colour of the earth, red and black, to signify that we deal with criminal cases as well as with civil law cases. The black belts also signified civil law and the usual bib. By then Albie and I had already been identified as the creative ones, so we were given the task to design the robes and it was quite exciting.

Justice Yvonne Mokgoro

It was important to us to have unisex robes so that when we wear the robe, the bib and the shirt collar which appears above the collar of the robe, should not be able to distinguish whether the judge is a man or woman. We all had to have the same of everything. The design of the robes was the first notion of equality which we created.

Justice Albie Sachs


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