The South African Constitutional Literacy and Service Initiative (CLASI) is a NGO which works with high school children and university law students to raise awareness about citizen’s constitutional rights. CLASI focuses on working with historically disadvantaged communities in Cape Town, primarily in so-called Coloured and Black areas.
Since its launch in February 2011, CLASI has forged a connection between law students from the University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape and Stellenbosch University and thirteen different high schools around Cape Town. Their aim is to engage high school students around the Constitution, demonstrating that constitutional literacy is essential for both democracy and informed citizenry. CLASI works closely with the Departments of Education and Justice, and is physically located at the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town.
The ‘ConHeroes’ Learning Journey started with the 2012 Winter school holiday ‘ConCamp’ hosted for the first time at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre. This was found to be a great ‘fit’ as the Museum works with the memory of forced removals as a means to facilitate conversations and programmes about matters related to Apartheid laws and resistance.
More than that though, the District Six Museum has become an advocacy community, encouraging informed understandings of the past, supporting the return of those forcibly removed, and reestablishing the spirit of the District Six community.
Youth were recruited from the ConCamp in July 2012 to continue with a 7 week oral history project, ‘ConHeroes’, to connect with former anti-apartheid social justice activists (Constitutional Rights Heroes) who are still involved in work with children and marginalized communities.
The following oral histories resulted in a ‘pinboard’ exhibition that opened at the District Six Museum Homecoming Centre on Heritage Day, 24 September 2012:
Neville Alexander; Cecyl Esau; Braam Hanekom; Emile Jansen; Phillip Kgosana; Headley King; Daphne King; Nocawe Mankayi; Shepi Mati; Farida Omar; Marcus Solomon; Cheryl Uren and Myrtyl Witbooi.
Rushin Galant, one of the youth participants also prepared a wonderful tribute to Neville Alexander, intimately involved in the founding stages of the Museum, who had just passed away.