The 12th Chair

We, the People take our Seat

The Constitutional Court has 11 chairs for its 11 judges.

We call on all people to submit creative designs for a 12th chair —  a chair for the people, custodians of the Constitution.

Think, dream and design your 12th chair. Complete the online application form including your story and design before 28 October 2021.

The team or individual who submits the winning chair will be awarded R10 000 and work together with a reputable manufacturer to physically produce the 12th Chair winning design.

The Brief

The Constitutional Court, the guardian of the Constitution, has eleven chairs for the eleven judges who uphold, promote and defend our Constitution. Along with the judges, we the people are also guardians of the Constitution. That is why we are introducing the 12th Chair  - to represent the people’s seat of power as guardians of the Constitution, to express our values and from which we can speak boldly to those in power. 

We encourage designs that re-imagine and re-invent the aesthetics of power and envision a chair in which all people will feel comfortable and empowered.  The chosen chair will find its permanent place on Constitution Hill.

What would the 12th chair look like? How would one represent the role of the public through the design of a chair? Should this chair be made of a simple, durable material or should it be made ornate and gregarious in nature? What size should the chair be; and how should it make those who sit on it feel? What is the story behind the design of the chair? These are the types of questions you will need to ask yourself in the design of your 12th chair.

Who can enter?

This competition is open to to everyone in South Africa, of all ages, experience and design levels. You do not have to be a designer to enter this competition. It is a competition about activism and engagement in our Constitution and the role We, the People, play in upholding our democracy and dignity for all. 

The 12th Chair is for all people regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity or age who uphold the values of the Constitution. It is our seat of power from which  we can speak boldly to those in power. 

What do you need to submit?

Please follow the online application form here. To apply, you do not have to submit technical drawings, however there is the option to do so. All applications must have a drawing of the chair that they would want to design, as well as a story behind the design and how you came to that design. 

The drawings of your chair could be done on a computer or by hand and need to be uploaded on the online application form.

Some background information

The power of Kings, Queens, Judges, Speakers of the House, Archbishops and Presidents is reflected in the chairs that they occupy. Whether gilded in gold or bound in leather, seats of power throughout time have been extravagantly built in order to overawe and intimidate. In South Africa’s apartheid history, seats of power were built to elevate the occupier of the seat above the heads of the majority of the nation.

With the advent of our constitutional democracy came the rethinking of the aesthetic of power. A pointed example is our Constitutional Court. This is where eleven judges take their seats to hear some of the most important matters in the life of the nation. They do so in a chamber that is inspired by the time-honoured African notion of justice under a tree.

Over the course of South African history, we have witnessed that a mobilised citizenry is the source of the most potent kind of power, the people’s power. Whereas the President has his seat in Pretoria and Parliament its seat in Cape Town, where is the seat of power for the people?

The Constitutional Court, the guardian of the Constitution, has eleven chairs for the eleven judges who exercise their voices and powers in the realisation of our constitutional vision. We the people, too, have the right to exercise our voices to make our Constitution real. That is why we are introducing the 12th Chair as the people’s seat of power alongside the Constitutional Court, on Constitution Hill.

We invite you to submit designs for the 12th Chair. We encourage designs that re-imagine and re-invent the aesthetics of power and envision a chair in which all people will feel comfortable and empowered. The chosen chair will find its permanent place in an appropriate setting on Constitution Hill.

The Judging process

  • All entries will go through an initial judging process and shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 1 October 2021.
  • 12 shortlisted designs will then be 3d printed as prototypes for display at the 12th Chair Exhibition at Constitution Hill during The Basha Uhuru Festival in October 2021.
  • The winning entry will be announced on 9 December 2021 at Constitution HiIl.
  • The winning designer will be connected to a manufacturing team who will assist with the making of the 12th Chair.
  • The 12th Chair will be unveiled at the Human Rights Festival in March 2022.

    Terms and Conditions

    Entries / Submissions
    • Entrants may either make a submission individually or as a team.
    • The competition commences on Wednesday, September 1st 2021. Entries close at midnight on October 28th 2021 (“competition period”). The Constitution Hill Trust has the discretion to reject or accept entries received outside of the competition period.
    • Entrants must provide the Constitution Hill Trust, together with their design submission, their full name, current residential address, telephone number and email address. The Constitution Hill Trust will only use the personal details of entrants for the purposes of administering this competition.
    • The Constitution Hill Trust takes no responsibility for entries not received for whatever reason.
    • If charges of plagiarism are made against an entrant or participant, the charges are to be addressed at the earliest by the accused entrant or participant. The Constitution Hill Trust holds the right to take down the content from all its channels until the matter is resolved.
    • By entering the competition, the entrant acknowledges and accepts that all aspects of any submission narrative, description, details, images, illustration and animation may be used for publicity purposes by the Constitution Hill Trust.
    • The Constitution Hill Trust holds the right to publish all submissions in whole or in part, or use them in any way it sees fit in connection with this competition without the permission of the entrant or payment for such use.
    • Any information collected on the competition website will be used only for processing and administration of the entrants' competition entry according to the competition guidelines. Only an entrant’s name, design and story behind their design shall be shared for the purpose of publication of submissions on third-party platforms.
    • All design submissions are not just design concepts only but also imply an intention for the designs to be physically constructed or built.
    • Competition entrants are prohibited from sale, assignment or transfer of any of their submission rights to a third party.
    • No entrants or participants shall receive or be entitled to receive any payment in any form for submission or for granting the Constitution Hill Trust any right herein, other than for being selected as the winning entry of the competition.
    • Employees of Constitution Hill Trust, members of the jury panel and their employees, associates and partners are prohibited from entering the competition. They are, however, encouraged to submit ideas for a special mention but cannot win or be a part of the formal competition.
    Selection of Winner and Prize
    • The Constitution Hill Trust’s determination of the winning entry or submission through its panel of jury members will be final. If under any circumstances a selected winning entry cannot accept, receive or is ineligible for the award for any reason, the highest-ranked entry from the top shortlisted or remaining entries that meet the winning requirement shall be deemed the winner.
    • The Constitution Hill Trust will not be responsible or liable for any lawsuit or claim against any of its jury panel members, emanating from their professional conduct or otherwise.
    • The prize of R10 000 for the winning submission from an individual or team entrant will be awarded following judging of all valid submissions received within the competition period by a panel of judges appointed by the Constitution Hill Trust.
    • The winning entrant will work together with a selected reputable manufacturer to physically produce the 12th Chair winning design.
    • The manufactured 12th Chair will find a prominent permanent home at Constitution Hill.
    • The winning entrant must provide correct banking details to the Constitution Hill Trust for the transfer of the prize which is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and is not redeemable for other prizes.
    • The Constitution Hill Trust takes no responsibility for inaccurate information, details that the winning entrant submits for receipt of the prize.
    • The winner agrees to, and shall upon request at reasonable notice, participate in publicity or promotional activity around the competition, like interviews, personally or otherwise.
    Disqualification, Amendment and Cancellation
    • The Constitution Hill Trust has the right to disqualify any submission which is non-compliant to the competition guidelines and shall be under no obligation to notify the entrant or participant of the disqualified entry or submission.
    • The Constitution Hill Trust has the right to cancel or suspend or alter the rules of the competition at any point in time if deemed necessary in its opinion and if circumstances arise outside its control.
    • The Constitution Hill Trust reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time without notice. The responsibility is that of the entrant to check the website regularly if we have made any changes to these terms and conditions.

    The ownership of the copyright in all the designs submitted by all entrants and the 12th Chair itself that is manufactured and produced as a result of this competition will be that of the Constitution Hill Trust.

    • The entrant agrees to release, indemnify, defend the Constitution Hill Trust from any liability, any claim for damages, and/or lawsuit for or by reason of their entry into the competition as a result of any submission, revision, alteration or similar thereof.
    • Entrants agree to indemnify the Constitution Hill Trust fully from and against all claims, liability, damages, losses, costs and expenses, legal fees arising out of any breach of these conditions by the entrant or any other liability arising out of their entry into this competition.
    • By entering this competition, any and all entrants and participants agree to fully comply with the terms and conditions, as referred herein. Please read them carefully before submitting your entry. These rules form an agreement between you and the Constitution Hill Trust with respect to the competition.
    • Any dispute and claim arising from or connected with this competition, or any prizes awarded shall be resolved through a mediation process determined by the Constitution Hill Trust and the relevant entrant.