Why should you care about the Constitution?

06-12-2018

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The Constitution is the most important and powerful document in South Africa

The South African Constitution lists all the rights and responsibilities that all the people in South Africa have and are entitled to. It is a very powerful document as it is the highest law of the land and everyone needs to follow its laws; even the President, members of Parliament or your parents and teachers.

It is so powerful in fact that it affects you, your friends, your family, and everyone else in South Africa on a daily basis.

Why should you care about the Constitution?

“All the people in South Africa” means everyone in South Africa, of all ages – not just adults. So, even as a kid or a teenager, you have rights and people need to respect those rights.

In fact, everyone under the age of 18 actually has special rights – rights that adults don’t have. It’s important that people respect your rights, and treat you with respect. You’re also expected to respect others and their rights and to be a law-abiding part of society (that’s where the responsibility part comes in).

Knowing a bit about our Constitution means that if you don’t think you are being treated properly, or don’t like the way a situation is making you feel, you may actually be able to do something about it – and you will have the law to back you up.

By knowing your rights, you’ll know when someone is breaching or violating them. That’s when you scream and shout about it, and know for sure that your country has your back. And that’s cool.

If you think that your rights aren’t being respected there are a number of things you can do. Find out more about how to take action here.

What you need to know

You need to know how the Constitution protects you, and helps you have the things you need to live a good life. This can mean having access to education, or being treated the same as other people. You also need to be sure that you’re treating others in the right way too (otherwise you could quickly find yourself in trouble).

The Constitution is a powerful document, and knowing a little bit about the Constitution gives you power. Power to take charge of how you’re treated in the world and how you treat others. Start wrapping your head round the Constitution now – it’s an important step for every teenager and young adult to take.

So, it turns out that the Constitution is pretty amazing: It protects you, and can give you confidence, because if you know your rights you can defend them, and this helps to make you proud of who you are. Nice!