LAST Friday, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the signing of South Africa‘s constitution, I was, physically and metaphorically confronted by a version of my much younger self. The view was not entirely reassuring.The event was a reunion, of sorts, in Cape Town: former staff members of the Constitutional Assembly — the South African parliament which drafted our democratic charter between 1994 and 1996 — convened a panel of people closely involved in writing the document. Our task was to reflect on how it happened and to weigh the challenges of present times.Before the discussion commenced — chaired with his customary combination of legal insight and showbiz smarts by Dennis 'Judge for Yourself' Davis — one of the staffers directed me to a large mounted photograph of the Assembly shot on the steps of the old Senate building of parliament the day before the final constitution was agreed on May 8 1996. The front row consisted of the political eminences who guided the process, who w...

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