If you’ve not heard about the Fakugesi Digital Arts Festival, which kicks off tonight in Joburg, you’re missing out.
Now in its third year, this is one of our favourite events of the year.
According to the Economist this week, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is a “model” document of its type. And I tend to agree. This amazing legal construct is one of the most elegant providers and safeguards of equality of treatment in the eyes of the law in the world. It’s been used to prosecute racists, to house the homeless and (somewhat obliquely) the Constitutional Court was even the final arbiter in the Vodacom Please Call Me case.
The language of the Constitution is broad, sweeping, poetic in places; and it is also hugely detailed and comprehensive in terms of how its strictures should be upheld.
The trouble is, not many people have actually read the thing itself. Possibly because, unlike the US Constitution which is a single page and all children have to read it in school, the South African Constitution runs to more than 180 pages and isn’t widely available in print format in all local languages.
Which could be a problem. At this critical juncture in South African history, when the political landscape is changing at breakneck speed, there’s a lot of people talking about how much they want to change the Constitution. That it’s served it’s purpose. That it’s of it’s time.
As part of the Johannesburg chapter of Hacks/Hackers, I’m volunteering with #HackTheConstitution to take a newly prepared text of the document and bring it to life. To make it interesting, informative and easily searchable for the purposes of education, information or just a bloody good read. We want to turn it into a wiki-style web app complete with annotations and interpretations that can be used by teachers, journalists, lawyers and citizens to learn more about this amazing document and come to an informed decision when changes are discussed.
We’re looking for designers, developers, writers, artists, lawyers and more to help build something that’s both informative and celebratory.
Oh, and we have pizza.