Constitution Hill’s Museum is the site of Johannesburg’s previously notorious Old Fort Prison Complex.
Today, the museum’s exhibitions challenge us to consider how the apartheid and colonial systems treated all black people as criminals. The space evokes what it was like to be imprisoned under brutal and inhumane conditions and takes the visitor on the journey to a free and democratic South Africa.
The Old Fort together with the men’s prison - commonly known as Number Four and the Women’s Jail is where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa’s leading political activists, including Winnie Mandela; Mahatma Gandhi; Albertina Sisulu; Fatima Meer and Nelson Mandela were detained here.
What was once a place of injustice has become a place of solidarity and democracy showcasing one of the country’s most significant heritage sites.
The pages below offer a glimpse into these museums.