The South African Constitution, by contrast, devotes 32 different articles to individual rights before it even mentions the structure of government. While America’s founders were primarily worried about how lawmakers would be selected and what powers they would and would not have, South Africa’s Constitution begins with a statement of human rights. It’s drafters wanted first and foremost to ensure that nothing like apartheid would ever exist again.Our US Constitution doesn't start with a list of rights, because government cannot grant rights! We're born with them by virtue of being human (not by being US citizens). The principles of good government were given in our Declaration of Independence; the Constitution is the specification for the government that implements it. Even our Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to our Constitution -- not an afterthought) acknowledge that they are not granting these rights, and the tenth amendment further states that the Bill of Rights are not a complete list -- and cannot be (because government cannot grant rights that we're born with).
The US Constitution is the "white list" of things our government must do. The Bill of Rights is the "black list" of natural rights on which no good government should ever infringe. Guess what? The US government infringes on several of them routinely.
I respect Nelson Mandela, and everything he had to endure under apartheid (not that dissimilar from our own slavery, Jim Crow laws and segregation), but all of those things are already supposed to be illegal -- problems we had to work out under our own form of government. No constitution can prevent tyrants from ignoring it or circumventing it, as we see playing out in abundance today by the US government.
The article is from the website, Think Progress (as in 'progressive'), so you just know I'll disagree with them. Nelson Mandela was an avowed communist, so whatever "individual rights" his Constitution arrogantly granted most likely involved little or no economic freedom, but rather provision without consent, by the productive members of society, for the non-productive members. When done by anyone but government, it is the definition of "theft".
From each according to his ability; to each according to his need is a beautiful thing when it is done voluntarily. But it is slavery when earnings are redistributed by government, without the consent of the worker-producers.