Over 300 Wits Constitutional Law students got their first chance to visit the Constitutional Court last week, as part of a programme that gives the students exposure to South Africa’s highest court.
Students for Law and Social Justice in collaboration with the Wits Law School and the Conhill Education Project, put together the event for 320 second-year Wits Law students.
“Less than 5% of Constitutional Law students have ever actually been to Constitutional Hill,” said Tristan Jones, a member of Students for Law and Social Justice.
Claudia Oliveira, 3rd year LLB, is one of the many Law students who have not had the chance to go visit the iconic space, despite Constitution Hill being within walking distance of Wits’ main campus.
“I didn’t have anybody interested enough to go with,” Oliveira said.
“It is definitely something that I want to do. But it would have been so much easier and more educational to have gone with Wits when it was relevant and I was learning about it,” Oliveira said.
Jones said the aim of the event is to “ensure that all Constitutional Law students are able to experience the highest court in the land”.
Constitution Hill in Braamfontein has a history dating back to the 1892 when the Old Fort was built under the Zuid Afrikaans Republiek functioning as a prison. Today the site is home to the Woman’s Gaol museum, Number Four museum and the Old Fort museum.
These areas host exhibitions that advocate human rights.
During the tour, students got an in-depth look at the jails on Constitution Hill, a tour of the art collection in the main Court and were also taken into the courtroom itself.
Students for Law and Social Justice is a South African students’ organisation which aims to protect human rights, encourage social justice and help make justice more accessible. The group was formed among students from various universities around the country.