Welcome to the homepage of #HackTheConstitution

This site was created as a prototype for a hackathon at the Fakugesi digital arts festival in September 2016. It's currently being redesigned from scratch. In the meantime, you can check out our work in progress & meetup write-ups at blog.hacktheconstitution.org.za

Next meetup: TBC

What is #HackTheConstitution?

#HackTheConstitution is an attempt to make the South African Constitution more accessible to everyone. The founders of the project believe that the Constitution is an example of its kind, and one of the most impressive legal documents in existence in its absolute guarantee of equality for all before the law.

We also feel, however, that there's a dearth of material online or off for interpreting the Constitution and its history, and making it accessible for all. Why isn't the Constitution taught in schools, for example, and how come senior politicians and public figures don't seem to understand its most basic clauses.

Why #HackTheConstitution?

We believe that if all South Africans truly understood the amazing scope and international importance of the Constitution, they'd be as proud of it as US citizens - famously - are of theirs. Instead, we hear repeated murmurings that the Constitution should be relaxed, that it was of its time, that we don't need such strong protection any more - which we couldn't disagree with more.

So we want to create a place where Constitutional information and inspiration is easy to find.

For teachers, we want to create a resource that can help bring the Constitution to life in class, full of examples of its use to win citizens' rights in the ConCourt.

For journalists, we want to build a database of accessible knowledge, to make researching and finding Constitution-related stories easier for non-experts.

And for citizens, activists and everyone else we want to create a site that celebrates the Constitution, where stories can be both read and shared. Ultimately, we want to encourage more people to use the Constitution to guarantee their rights and help answer questions about what is and what isn't allowable under Constitutional law.

How will it be built?

The plan is to build a mobile-friendly site in which the text of the Constitution - in all official languages - is annotated. These annotations will explain legal jargon, link related clauses together (and with other laws), and reference ConCourt judgements relevant to original passages in the document itself.

We also want videos, pictures and - most important of all - stories about how the Constitution has been used to change ordinary lives for the better. 

What do we need?

In short, you. We're all volunteers, and we want you to join us. We need designers and coders to help finish this site; we need writers who can interpret the Constitution and tell stories about it; we need researchers who can append relevant judgements to clauses and laws.

If you're able to help, please drop us a line here or leave a comment over on the blog.

The full text of the Constitution has been prepared and released into the public domain by MyConstitution.co.za. To download a print-ready copy of the Constitution in any of the 11 official languages, please visit MyConstitution.co.za.

#HackTheConstitution is a collaboration between Hacks/Hackers Johannesburg and TEDxJohannesburg. All content on this site is published under a Creative Commons 4.0 BY SA NC licence unless otherwise specified.