Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Flame of Democracy

Constitution Hill is one of Johannesburg's most prominent heritage sites.  It is the home of South Africa's Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, and is located on the site of a number of prisons dating back to the Apartheid years.  One of these prisons were Number 4 Prison (the other two were the Old Fort and the Women's Jail)  where a lot of awaiting trail prisoners were kept during those years.  Although most of the old prison buildings are no more, some of the stairwells were kept and made part of the new precinct as a reminder of the dark days of oppression.  The Flame of Democracy is found in one of these stairwells and was established to celebrate 15 years since the signing of the constitution.  The flame was originally lit by Nelson Mandela in his birth place in Qunu and transported to Johannesburg where it was placed in this significant spot, never to be extinguished again. 

I really enjoy visiting places like this and I wish more South Africans would.  In the USA a place like this would receive the biggest regard and respect by visitors who will make sure to include it in their itineraries and I can't see why it shouldn't be any different in South Africa.

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