THE CENTRE FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL TRANSFORMATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
The greatest achievement in South Africa’s long and troubled history was the ability of the overwhelming majority of all its people to come together between 1990 and 1996 to move away from minority racial domination and to reach a negotiated agreement on the establishment of a new non-racial constitutional democracy.
This achievement laid the foundations for a new society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. It was an inspiration – not only to the people of South Africa – but to the whole world. It showed that even the most intractable problems and bitter disputes can be resolved peacefully and rationally through negotiations.
The FW de Klerk Foundation accordingly decided in 2021 to establish a Centre for Constitutional Transformation of South Africa to provide an audio-visual presentation of how all this was achieved – and to highlight the key importance to all South Africans of the 1996 Constitution that was the culmination of this process.
THE CENTRE’S GOALS
The Centre’s goals are to:
- preserve, acquire, research and disseminate information relating to South Africa’s constitutional transformation;
- commemorate South Africa’s negotiated transformation from white minority rule to non-racial constitutional democracy;
- promote, advance and propagate the Constitution and the values on which it is based – particularly among young South Africans;
- provide a forum for the discussion of constitutional issues; and to share South Africa’s experience in conflict resolution and constitution-making.
The Centre for Constitutional Transformation of South Africa is situated at the Foundation’s offices in Cape Town, and includes:
A physical audio-visual exhibition of South Africa’s constitutional transformation process, including:
- the factors that opened the way to constitutional negotiations;
- the negotiating process;
- the crises that threatened to derail the negotiations;
- the adoption of the 1993 “interim” Constitution;
- the 27 April 1994 election and the convening of the Constitutional Assembly;
- the adoption, certification and signing of the 1996 Constitution;
- the centrality of the Constitution for all South Africans.
THE CENTRE’S APPROACH WILL BE:
- Objective:The Centre will provide an objective overview of the constitutional transformation process and will include and reflect the views and statements of all the main participants in the process.
- On-line: The Centre will make maximum use of digital platforms in achieving its goals. The audio-visual display of the transformation process and the archive and Forum discussions will all be available on-line.
- Youth-orientated: The Centre will develop special programs to inform young people about the Constitution including its vision for South Africa; the values on which it is founded; the rights and freedoms that it assures; and the institutions that it has established for the governance of South Africa.
- Open – on application and by invitation – to small groups, students and scholars.