15 August 2013

SAHA celebrates one year at Constitution Hill

It has been a year since SAHA moved to the Constitution Hill heritage site in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. As a human rights archive, this strategic move has improved the organisation's outreach, access, public interaction and profile.

After having outgrown the space available to SAHA at its previous home, the University of the Witwatersrand, SAHA officially moved into the Women's Jail section of the Constitution Hill complex on 15 August 2012. Constitution Hill is a place with a rich history which speaks to the intersection of heritage and justice at the heart of SAHA's mandate and provides a favourable environment within which SAHA can operate as a human rights archive.

The space and setting has enabled SAHA to hold exhibitions, host publication launch events, and to conduct training workshops such as the PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) training to capacitate other civil society organisations and SAHA's long-running workshops for history educators and learners within the SAHA environment.

SAHA also took over the responsibility for archiving and making accessible the records of the Constitution Hill Trust. This valuable body of records comprises a wealth of materials that speaks not only to the history of the site, but also the process by which heritage sites are conceptualised and developed, and the vision and development of the Constitution Court.

This collection includes materials loaned or donated by ex-prisoners, ex-wardresses, former staff and their families, as well as recordings, transcripts and drawings from oral history projects and workshops that have been conducted on site with ex-prisoners, for use within the permanent exhibitions within the Constitution Hill heritage site.

Constitution Hill Trust CEO, Ms. Petal Thring, had this to say about the move:

"SAHA’s move to Constitution Hill was welcomed and has assisted Constitution Hill to  document  and protect the many stories and the rich history of the site and the many people associated with the site.  SAHA has made a major contribution  in assisting Constitution Hill to achieve its vision: “offering an informed and engaging experience related to Constitutionalism, Human Rights and Democracy”. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with SAHA."

Read more about SAHA's move to Constitution Hill

Read more about Constitution Hill