Rights on paper vs rights on the street

We are told that we have rights, that we have a Constitution and laws to protect us. We have the right to dignity, equality, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, education, the list goes on. But who is protecting these rights? Who is enforcing them?

While it may be true that we can take people to court to receive compensation or justice for the infringements of our rights, the damage is already done. What does the right to equality mean when it ends on paper? When people are discriminated against every day? When people are abused and made to feel unsafe?

This blog focuses on the rights in the South African Constitution, the limitation of rights, and various landmark cases with respect to how the law has changed to be in accordance with the Bill of Rights. At the same time, it will also try to tie this to personal stories and experiences to show how rights apply in real life. After all, we speak about our human rights, but never about our duties towards other people as a result of these rights.  We all have a duty of respect to not infringe other people’s rights, and that is important to remember.