CURRENT AFFAIRS

We The People love our Constitution, and so should you

Background: We The People is a new initiative from Media Monitoring Africa, a Johannesburg-based NGO focused on promoting a responsible, quality media in South Africa and across the continent. We The People is not for profit and completely independent and not aligned with any political organization or sponsor. Primarily based online, it focuses

on:

  • educating the South African public about the constitution
  • explaining how it affects them, and
  • helping them to understand why they should care about it.

Ultimately, We The People aims to take the constitution from an abstract concept that tends to get thrown around during debates about the future of South Africa, and bring it to life in terms that ordinary South Africans can relate to.

Goal: We want to get 1 million South Africans to tell the world why they love our constitution by February 29th. The constitution turned 15 earlier this month (which is when it became the law of the land) and we think that’s something to celebrate.

How to get involved:  participate either via Facebook, Twitter, SMS to 078 949 3735, our website www.wethepeople.org.za and tell the world why they love our constitution. You can do it in any language you choose. To help people, we’ve compiled a list of top 10 reasons to love our constitution in accessible language (see below)

Top 10 Reasons to Love Our Constitution

1.      It protects you. If it were not for the constitution, you could be
arrested for almost anything. You might not realize it, but each and
every day you are free in ways that were unimaginable 25 years ago.

2.      Our children’s rights are the best in the world. The section on
children in our constitution has higher standards than the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

3.      It’s practical. Imagine if one group decided on which rights
everyone else got to have? There’s no other way to cope in a diverse
society where everyone has a different idea about the way we should
live.

4.      It’s fair. Everyone has the right to practice their own culture,
religion and traditions as long as these don’t violate the rights of
others.

5.      It’s advanced. It includes rights that aren’t mentioned in other
constitutions, like children and the environment. Our constitution is
studied around the world because it’s considered so advanced.

6.      It gives us freedom. We can tell jokes about anything we like – in
many countries, you can be jailed for insulting the president or the
king.

7.      It’s accessible. Nobody enjoys more rights just because they’re
rich and powerful. We’re all equal before the law.

8.      It carries legal weight. If you think your rights are being
violated, you have several options listed here. That’s the point of We
The People: to educate you– because if you don’t know what your rights
are, you can’t stand up for them.

9.      Votes are more powerful than tanks. The army does not have the
power to change the government because our constitution regards the
votes of ordinary people as the most important deciding factor.

10.     It represents the people of South Africa at our best. We all know
we don’t always achieve the standards spelled out in the constitution,
but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to reach them.

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