As part of Human Rights Month Celebrations, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) visited Spine Road High School in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, to educate learners on the Bill of Rights and celebrate 25 years of signing into law the constitution of South Africa. The department is doing these visits to educate learners about the strides and contributions made by our freedom fighters and struggle icons to realize the freedom and democracy our country is currently enjoying. Spine Road High School has groomed most influential leaders in the country such the member of National Assembly Mr. Ebrahim Rasool.
The aim of the event was to engage with the learners of the Spine Road High on the values and the principle of the Constitution of South Africa. Speaking during the opening of the event the principal of the school Mr. Robert Carelse said students should learn from the example set by freedom fighters to gain the freedom they are enjoying today.
Pride Adichie, a learner from Spine Road High School, said that it was very important for them to learn about the Bill of Rights so that their rights should not be violated. “We are very fortunate to be part of the Department’s human rights celebration,” he said.
The event was concluded by reciting the Preamble of the country as a sign of commitment to the values of the Constitution of South Africa.
By Solomon Mahlangu
Vryburg Hoerskool in the North West Province is one of the schools chosen by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) for the Constitutional Learner programme. The campaign, which focuses on promoting human rights is aimed at educating learners about the Bill of Rights.
The school made news in 1998 when racial violence flared in the town and parents of white pupils attacked black students at the school following tensions between white, Afrikaans-speaking students and black students who were taught in English. However, today Vryburg High School maintains a safe environment for all learners.
Briefing the learners, Taung Court Manager, Mr Rathele Thulo highlighted that the department is celebrating 25 years of the Constitution where learners across the country are taught about their rights e.g. the right to learn. “Learners should understand that even though they have rights; those rights also have limitations and comes with responsibilities”. He said.Learners were also excited to be part of the celebrations. “We must stand together to make our country a better place, the future of our country is in our hands”. Said Gawie Odendaal, a learner.
By Suzan Mphuthi
To raise awareness on the rights contained in the Bill of Rights, the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) held a Constitutional Learner programme across the country. Focusing on Human Rights month, this year the initiative was aimed at exposing Grade 11 and 12 learners to the Constitution and reading of the “Preamble”.
Amongst the schools visited is Onkgopotse Tiro Comprehensive school, situated 40km away from North West Capital, Mahikeng. The school is named after the struggle hero Onkgopotse Tiro, who was killed at the age of 28 by a parcel bomb in Botswana in February 1974, but the apartheid government would not allow him to be buried in South Africa. However, in 1998 parts of Tiro’s body were exhumed from his grave in Botswana and reburied in Dinokana, North West.
The school principal Mr Edwin Kgonothi said their school is fortunate to be chosen for the campaign as the Department’s presence there further affirms the students’ rights as enshrined in the Constitution. “When talking about the institution where free education is practised you have come to the right school. Learners here predominantly are drawn from most vulnerable communities and education, food, hostel, is provided for free”.
Advocate Nthabiseng Mafilika from DOJ&CD North West Regional office engaged the learners on the rights and their limitations. “One of your basic rights are the right to education and the right to shelter. But the right to education is limited because you must come to school and there are school rules that you must follow. You can’t come to school at 9am when the school starts at 8am.” Says Advocate Mafilika.
One of the learners, Kesaobaka Motsoatsoa thanked the Department for coming to their school. “I have learned that our rights go with responsibilities and they have limitations. We have to follow and obey the rules so that we can enjoy our rights.”
By Suzan Mphuthi