South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

New Constitution

Summary

Crafting a new constitution was a critical part of the negotiated political transition in South Africa, representing, as it did, a dramatic change from the politics of apartheid. In 1993, the Constitutional Assembly drafted an Interim Constitution and, following the April 1994 democratic elections, members of both houses of Parliament worked on a final constitution, which was agreed to two years later.

The new Constitution is based on the core values of human dignity and the advancement of human rights and freedoms; non-racialism and non-sexism; supremacy of the rule of law; universal adult suffrage; regular elections; and a multi-party system of democratic government. The Bill of Rights is the most far-reaching such document in the world, incorporating both individual rights and freedom of expression and socio-economic rights.

Web Images

Political Art: "Images of Human Rights: South African Prints"
From: Artists for Human Rights
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Web Documents

Historical Document: "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996"
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"South African Constitution - Chapter 2: Bill of Rights"

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Book Chapter/Excerpt: "Chapter 3: The South African Constitution: Birth Certificate of a Nation", Turning Points in History Book 6: Negotiations, Transition and Freedom
By Hassen Ebrahim [more info]
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AODL African Studies Center MSU Matrix NEH