I have delaying this piece for a long time now. When my phone was forcefully taken, I lost many of the photos and a very interesting interview.
A Cold Night at Constitution Hill
Earlier this year I joined a community, Travel Massive, that regularly has events in or around the main cities of the world. Johannesburg was the city I had selected upon registration and shortly after the registration an interesting event popped up.
Constitution Hill was an old prison that had been built in the last part of the 1800s. Many important events took place at Constitution Hill that can all been experienced with a visit. Travel Massive arranged for a story telling evening, recounting the tales of the women that once called the woman’s jail home.
Headed for Johannesburg
My sister and I depart for Johannesburg. The sun clung to the horizon for the last few moments as we hit the half-way point. Johannesburg is not too far from home and I make sure we leave with enough time to get to Constitution Hill. I had been able to get an additional tickets for my sister but now she was freaking out. She tries to convince me to turn around and go back but I push on.
We park in a rather empty parking lot, not sure where to go. I finally ask for directions and off we go, in search of the women’s jail.
Empty chairs are packed around a gas heater, blankets placed on every third chair. We are some of the first to arrive and my sister had relaxed slightly.
Before our story telling sessions starts we are taken on a short tour of the jail. Women that had been detained there reveal the many shocking stories of their lives there. The cold follows us as we head back to the warm room, curious of the story they will be telling.
The elderly women express so many emotions of sadness and anger. They tell us of what they were sentenced for, many being only minor infractions of the ridiculous law at the time. The tell of the many wonderful woman they had grown to love as family and of the living conditions. Poems are read and another woman places her harmonica, quieting the room and sending chills down my spine.
The event draws to an end and I am able to steal a few minutes from one of the inspirational woman to ask her a few questions. The interview had been recorded but it is sadly lost now.
It was a night well spent and I certainly looked at Constitution Hill with fresh eyes. If you are ever in Johannesburg and interested in some history, Constitution Hill is a great option for a quick visit. There are so many things to do in Johannesburg, Constitution Hill is simply one of the many choices.
This is a short piece with no photos. I am glad to have finally finished it now as it has been weighing on my shoulders for a long while.
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