Published On: Fri, Dec 30th, 2016

Heritage and the South African Constitution

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A constitution is the guiding law on a country’s values and rules. A constitution directs the government and all the people who live in a country on the rules for how citizens should be treated and how they should treat others. A constitution supports and protects a country and its peoples’ heritage and culture. South Africa is said to have one of the fairest constitutions in the world.

In South Africa everybody is equal. This means that nobody should discriminate against anyone else because of things like skin colour, age, religion, language or gender. South Africans have human rights that are protected. For example, some schools have turned away children who have AIDS. However, the law protects these children’s rights to an education. In the same way the right to practice different religious beliefs is protected. Every person has the right to be part of any religion and to use the language of their choice. For this reason South Africa has 11 official languages so that all the major languages used in the country are given equal value. These languages are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu. Languages used by smaller groups such as the Khoi, Nama, San and sign language must also be respected. Other languages used in South Africa like German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Portuguese, Telegu and Urdu and languages like Arabic, Hebrew and Sanskrit, used in certain religions, must also be respected.

The constitution of South Africa rules that everyone in South Africa is free to practice whatever culture they wish and speak any language they choose so long as this does not harm anyone else’s freedom to do the same.

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