From 23 to 25 March 2018, Constitution Hill in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, alongside other civil society organisations presented the first edition of the Human Rights Festival. The Human Rights Festival was held in celebration of South African Human Rights Day (21 March), 21 years since the coming into effect of the South African Constitution and 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.

The three-day festival included civil society workshops, exhibitions, debates, poetry, music and social forums - elements that have and continue to shape the contours of human rights in Africa and through the world.

On Friday 23 March, following the thematic civil society workshops and fora, the controversial South African film Inxeba was publically screened with a follow-up debate at the Peoples’ Court on Sunday.

On Saturday 24 March, the Festival saw thousands of people - young and old, walking through the Old Fort at Constitution Hill. What was then the entry point for prisoners, became alive with human rights activists, learners, students and other participants as a unifying location for engagement networking. The day was concluded by a packed live music concert that resounded into the night.

One of the highlights of the Festival was the #WeThePeopleWalk, a colourful march through the city of Johannesburg on Sunday morning. Thousands of people from all walks of life participated in the march. The afternoon was brought to an end by a tribute concert in honour of the legendary Hugh Masekela, the jazz musician whose music travelled the world and told stories of hope, equality and freedom.

The Centre for Human Rights extends its gratitude to Constitutional Hill, its sponsors and other partners for a fantastic celebration of human rights and hope that this will be the merely the beginning of many.


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