Religion in the South African Constitution
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was approved by the Constitutional Court on December 4, 1996, and took effect on February 4, 1997. Reflecting the country’s recent transition from apartheid, it contains robust protections for a broad range of individual rights and strong clauses prohibiting discrimination. Thus, Article 9 prohibits direct or indirect discrimination based on religious affiliation, and Article 15 specifically guarantees the right to freedom of religion, thought, belief, and opinion. Additionally, Article 6 provides for the protection of languages used for religious purposes. Cultural rights are also explicitly protected under Article 31, which has resulted in some ambiguity about the status of traditional, yet controversial, religious practices such as animal sacrifice.