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Constitutional literacy in Africa: challenges and prospects

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Abstract

The issue of constitutional literacy has attracted very little attention in scholarship on constitutionalism in Africa. This is not surprising, because the early constitutions were virtually imposed by the departing colonial powers and perceived as alien, not only by the ordinary citizens but also the new leaders, who had little knowledge or experience of constitutional governance. Have the new generation of ‘made-in-Africa’ constitutions changed the state of constitutional literacy on the continent? In addressing this question, the paper examines the concept of constitutional literacy and, using the example of South Africa, considers ways in which it could be promoted. The paper also considers the challenges to promoting constitutional literacy. It concludes by underlining the fact that strengthening the democratic constitutional foundations laid in the 1990s, foundations increasingly under threat today, requires a comprehensive programme of constitutional education, with a focus on the poor and other marginalised groups in society. Without knowledge and awareness of constitutional rights, citizens will not be able to vindicate their rights or challenge any violation of them.

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... For marginalized women to be able to make informed decisions, claim their rights and participate in local governance they must be knowledgeable about the legal and constitutional framework. According to Fombad (2018), constitutional literacy empowers the ordinary citizen and breaks the barriers of privilege and exclusion, domination and marginalization. Raising awareness on constitutional provisions on women's rights strategies employed in the project resulted in women in Gwanda central to be able to identify some constitutional violations. ...
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Poster
JOS JOURNAL OF RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY VOL. 1. NO. 1
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