Constitution Hill, a unique and hybrid memorial site in the centre of Johannesburg, commemorates the violence of apartheid in the city’s infamous prison complex. Based on a series of workshops with former inmates and prison staff, the permanent exhibitions emphasize the importance of personal objects and testimonials for understanding the human rights violations of the past and their significance for the present and the future. In response to Yvonne Owuor’s appeal to remember the vulnerability of those human bodies who no one “[has] bothered to mention, to mourn”, my article attempts to map a new path towards responsible forms of spectatorship as we walk through the former Women’s Jail and listen to the witness accounts of Deborah Matshoba and Nolundi Ntamo.

In: Matatu