One of my FAVORITE things to do here at the Court is to come in on a Saturday and spend all day at work. But it’s not the Judge I’m working for, it’s for school kids from all around Johannesburg who come to the Court to learn about the Judges and what their human rights are under the South African Constitution.
I especially like drawing the contrast between my country and South Africa and sharing some of the excitement that I have clerking at the CC. I show the kids a picture of the US Supreme Court at the very beginning of the Court tour. The two Courts could not be more different. I also share the difference between my Bill of Rights and their Bill of Rights, 10 amendments versus their 27 rights.
This group that I have pictures from was absolutely fantastic. The kids were super engaged and precocious. They were overwhelmingly more conservative than I expected but not uniformly. They questioned one another (and us, the clerks running the workshop) and stood firm on their beliefs.
We talked about human rights, and the particularly difficult space where one’s right ends and another starts. The Spear, a piece of artwork that was all anyone was talking about when I arrived in June, is a great example of this. It’s a portrait of President Zuma with his “spear” on open display. There’s been a huge uproar that such a show is a violation of Zuma’s right to dignity. At the same time, the artist argues a right to freedom of expression. And the kids picked up on this immediately.
Overall, this makes me hopeful for the future of South Africa. The kids no doubt have so many things on their plate that I never had to deal with, but at the same time, seeing the vulnerability and joy in their eyes, I see stars waiting to shine through.